Employers Commit to Building a Stronger US Workforce
Today a group of organizations representing business and industry, large and small, announced
they will join forces to address the growing challenges for America's future workforce. The
Business and Industry STEM Coalition announced its commitment to doubling the number of
graduates with a bachelor's degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM)
to 400,000 from 200,000 by 2020.
Nearly 30 business and industry organizations representing more than 20 million employees have
joined together to address the challenges for America's workforce through a number of actions.
They include developing an inventory of employment skills needed by business over the next 10
years, engaging employers to promote game-changing STEM programs in all 50 states and
improving attitudes of the general public toward STEM professionals.
The business community is joined by advisory members from the federal Defense, Education and
Homeland Security departments, which also face shortages of highly skilled tech workers.
"This is an unprecedented coalition of employers," said Richard Stephens, a senior official at
Boeing and a founding member of the group. "We strongly believe that we need to take
aggressive and unified steps together in order to ensure that in 2020 our workforce is prepared to
keep our nation strong and competitive."
The U.S. workforce of 2020 is in trouble as current statistics show that students are falling
behind. For example, the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress math tests found
that fourth graders showed no signs of progress for the first time in many years, and eighth
graders showed modest progress. Internationally, the 2006 Programme for International Student
Assessment, which is the latest data available, found that American students ranked 21st out of
30 in science literacy and 25th out of 30 in math literacy.
Honored at today's event were Representatives Bart Gordon, chair of the House Science &