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January 26, 2016

MAC Workforce Expert Testifies on STEM Bill

MAC policy expert Amy Lancaster today testified in support of legislation intended to drive students in to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields.  HB 801 would reward students who pursue this difficult collegiate coursework and it addresses their concerns about potentially jeopardizing their HOPE scholarships.

AmyLancasterBW-copy-300x300Lancaster, Director of Workforce Development, shared valuable information with members of the House Higher Education committee about the need for future STEM workers.

  • According to JobsEQ, a national labor market database, over the next 10 years Georgia has projected need of 161,988 healthcare, computer and engineering occupations.
  • The 10-year projected demand for computer occupations alone (including replacement jobs and new growth) is 35,400. While the direct correlation from CS degree to CS occupation isn’t exact, the University System of Georgia awarded 1,644 Computer and Information Science Bachelor’s Degrees in 2015. At this rate we will have significant gaps in this area in the next 10 years. These occupations have an average annual salary for these occupations is $73,400.
  • In the most recent Metro Atlanta Workforce Trends Report, from 2007-2013 the Computer IT industry grew 68% compared to only 29% in the nation. In 2013 there were over 63,000 job postings in this industry alone, over 90-95% of these jobs require a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • This report also shows the top specialized skills for all sectors combined are: • SQL 14,800 • Oracle 11,000
  • According to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York - • On average 33% of recent college graduates are underemployed. These recent graduates are taking jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree, many of which are low-wage or part-time jobs. • Students with degrees in engineering, education, health, math and computers are the least likely to be underemployed. • Those students with majors that provide less technical and more general training, such as leisure and hospitality, communications, the liberal arts, and even the social sciences and business, are much more likely to be underemployed. • This creates a ripple of issues – not only do you have recent grads that are underemployed, but they are taking jobs that folks with no degree or technical training would normally take.
Lancaster explained that HB 801 would give students in less technical majors an added incentive to take courses in more rigorous technical areas.  This could lead to a minor or certification in demand areas, making them more marketable to employers and less likely to be underemployed upon graduation.

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