The job force needs prepared college graduates to fill (STEM) jobs, and candidates’ communication, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills they learned in the humanities are more vital than ever.
Humanities in a STEM World
John Engler, president of The Business Roundtable and former governor of Michigan, recently wrote an article for U.S. News and World Report entitled “STEM Education Is the Key to the U.S.’s Economic Future.”
“We need STEM-related talent to compete globally, and we will need even more in the future. It is not a matter of choice: For the United States to remain the global innovation leader, we must make the most of all of the potential STEM talent this country has to offer,” Engler said.
He further wrote, while students are being encouraged to explore the STEM field, it would be unfortunate if the humanities fields and skills were deemed to be less important. It is precisely skills like effective written and oral communication, written expression, and interpersonal skills that can make a qualified STEM candidate stand out from the crowd. (And H2O for Life would like to point out- skills acquired through service-learning)
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration report, STEM: Good Jobs Now and for the Future, STEM jobs are projected to grow at a rate of 18% from 2008 to 2018, compared to 9.8% for non-STEM occupations. The job force needs prepared college graduates to fill these jobs, and candidates’ communication, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills they learned in the humanities are more vital than ever.
For example, in a LinkedIn job posting for a senior software engineer search algorithms and data analytics position at The Home Depot, the first skills listed are “strong interpersonal skills, written and verbal communication” and “strong decision-making, problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and testing skills.” Clearly, even the most technical STEM jobs require verbal and written communication skills.
Although technology is rising in importance and the STEM areas are gaining in popularity, there will always be a place for the humanities. The humanities give students a foundation on which to attach new information and build a deeper level of knowledge.
Published in AMLE Magazine, April 2016.
Service- Learning provides a way to focus on the 4 C’s. Skills that are all part of a robust service-learning program and essential skills for jobs! Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Creativity, Communication
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