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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Rick Scott's economic development priorities include focus on STEM education



As promised, Gov. Rick Scott began announcing his legislative priorities today, beginning with economic development issues. Included in those was his emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math in education. No anthopology for you!

Here's what he had to say, from his prepared remarks:

"Last, but not least, I will Prioritize Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Education.

In order to meet future workforce demands, Florida will need approximately 120,000 new workers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) fields through 2018, based on Agency for Workforce Innovation projected job field growth.  This figure does not account for the additional need that would be generated by new companies moving into the state or emerging industries. Further, Enterprise Florida estimates that 15 out of the 20 fastest growing job fields will require a STEM education.  In order for Florida’s economy to grow with sustainable, high-wage, private sector jobs, we must increase our commitment to prioritizing STEM in both our K-12 and higher education institutions.

A major factor in Florida’s future economic growth will be the ability of the State University and State College Systems to promote economic growth and meet the needs of the state’s businesses.  In order to do this Florida’s universities must produce more graduates in STEM fields, increase their STEM research productivity that can be commercialized and expanded into new economic opportunities, and build strong relationships with the business community to expand services such as business incubators that will promote targeted economic growth.

The State University System must lead the way in producing graduates who have degrees in STEM fields.  Right now, less than 20 percent of the State University System’s graduates are expected to earn STEM degrees.  Our Universities can drive its graduates toward high employment and high earning careers by increasing its focus on graduating students in STEM fields. In order to achieve these goals, it is critical that Florida establish a goal for STEM graduates over the next five and ten years. High expectations coupled with increased accountability will ensure that our universities are a driving force for economic growth. 

The K-12 system must also meet STEM demands in both the K-12 setting as well as in its workforce education programs.  Our students must meet high academic standards with strong preparation in science and math in order to be prepared to compete with an increasingly competitive global workforce.  We must continue reforms that reward and promote excellence in the classroom, demand accountability of our schools, and ensure that our students are receiving the best education possible."

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 11:17am]


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