Today, Exploring released nationwide survey results revealing that student interests are shifting from entertainment to high-demand STEM opportunities, offering insight into the aspirations of the future workforce and potential solutions to current gaps in education opportunities.
Exploring’s Career Interest Survey was fielded in 2017 to more than 32,000 students from 8th through 12th grades. More than 200 career options were offered to enable a broad view of student interests – and an indicator as to where talent gaps may appear in the years ahead. This survey helps Exploring develop real-life job experiences that combine student interests with in-demand career opportunities
The top 10 list of most popular careers shifted drastically in 2017. Overall, interest in STEM-related professions, including health-care careers, jumped to 52 percent in 2017, versus 45 percent in 2016, with interest shifting away from pop-culture careers.
The significance of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education for youth is more important today than ever before. Careers in STEM fields are in high-demand, yet many fields are grappling to fill them because there are not enough trained professionals to fill the deficit. The Exploring program is helping by educating youth about STEM careers and building interest in subjects they might not otherwise know about in the traditional classroom.
The top 10 most popular careers from the 2017 survey were:
- Registered Nurse (ranked #1 in 2016)
- Physician/Surgeon (ranked #6 in 2016)
- Computer Programmer (new to the top 10 list)
- Veterinarian (ranked #8 in 2016)
- Professional Athlete (ranked #2 in 2016)
- Mechanical Engineer (new to the top 10 list)
- Teacher (new to the top 10 list)
- Artist (ranked #3 in 2016)
- Attorney (new to the top 10 list)
- Computer Engineer (new to the top 10 list)
“It’s encouraging to see a positive shift in interest toward STEM careers in just one year given concerns surrounding the shortage of STEM talent across a variety of industries,” said Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh. “Through Exploring, we introduce youth to real-world STEM career experiences so the jobs of the future are familiar and within reach as they are making decisions about their educational and career paths.”
Through the type of experiential education that Exploring offers, young men and women are able to see themselves in the full spectrum of STEM careers available to them. Exploring also teams with industry partners to better offer an authentic experience for youth, inviting them to explore real roles at real companies and organizations.
“At GE, we know that the future STEM workforce is critical to innovations yet to be discovered, so we take seriously our role in helping young people spark an interest in pursuing a STEM career,” said John McDonald, Smart Grid Business Development Leader at GE Power’s Grid Solutions business and Exploring leader. “That’s why we partnered with Exploring – to give students real-world opportunities and experiences that open them up to a world of exciting and fulfilling careers.”
Exploring provides real-life activities and mentorship for youth looking to discover their future. Along with other BSA programs, including STEM Scouts, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Sea Scouts and Venturing, Exploring’s career development program complements how students learn about STEM – beyond the classroom, in the community and alongside industry experts looking to attract future generations of STEM professionals.
Learn more about these fascinating findings by reading the full press release on Scouting Newsroom.