STEAM Jobs and What They Mean for Education

According to the Microsoft Corp. STEM Perceptions Report, STEAM jobs in the U.S. will grow 14 percent over the next three years. And as our community and workforce continues to grow, so does the need for education in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics). Many jobs in both the private and public sectors require candidates to have many skills that are not currently reinforced in today’s education system. It’s vital for students to develop these skills to prepare for college- and career-readiness.

While the initiative originally focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), it has been redefined from STEM to STEAM to include the arts.

You may ask: How do the arts fit in with careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics? The answer is quite simple: the arts help fuel creativity, spark imagination and innovation for students who are designing STEM projects. 

Creativity and thinking outside of the box is crucial as the next generation of solutionists strive to solve our nation’s most pressing issues. It’s important to mold STEM students to use their imagination to solve problems by encouraging individuals to apply creativity in real-life situations – not to just learn how to paint or draw. Students need to learn, for example, how to marry basic electrical engineering skills with a knack for industrial design and architecture to create a more efficient, user-friendly product. Fostering the artistic abilities of students can help generate more creative and innovative thinking.

The Lansing community is seeing the value of fueling the arts, too. Lansing’s unique environment and workforce is often a combination of higher education and manufacturing – which is why it is so important for the inclusion of the arts in the STEAM movement.

Last month, more than a dozen community partners hosted Lansing Maker Week. The week-long event invited attendees to learn from tours, hands-on projects and guest speakers in the areas that included food and drink, textiles, electronics and programming to demonstrate the intersection of jobs for the 21st century and maker skills.

With the addition of the arts, students who aspire to be innovators and solutionists have broader career options than becoming an engineer or scientist. Students can feed their artistic ability in their career by being a designer, computer software developer, graphic designer and more.  

How can educators, parents, guardians and community leaders foster creativity in younger students?

Over the holiday season, explore local museums such as Impression 5 Science Center, Michigan Historical Museum, R.E. Olds Transportation Museum and Michigan State University’s Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum. These are just a few of the museums that can serve as both an educational and fun experience for the entire family.

On a snowy day this winter, families can do arts and crafts at home. Whether it’s building a miniature house out of wooden sticks or a print-out activity, there are endless activities families can do to foster creativity.  

Visit camw.org to connect with Capital Area Michigan Works! team for assistance with fostering STEAM education, career exploration and staffing needs. Capital Area Michigan Works!, a proud partner of the American Job Center network, offers services in Ingham, Clinton and Eaton counties at our Lansing, St. Johns and Charlotte American Job Centers.

 

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