Editor’s note: The following commentary aired on WYPR.org on February 2, 2016.
You may have read or heard that college graduates with degrees tied to the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, known collectively as STEM, are in high demand by business and industry these days.
High-paying STEM-related jobs are booming and expected to grow as technology impacts a wide range of industries. Many of these jobs require a bachelor’s or even post-graduate degree.
But a growing number of industry sectors have STEM-related jobs that don’t require a college degree. These so-called middle-skill STEM jobs also pay higher wages than entry level positions in the same industry.
That’s one of the findings of a report issued recently by the Associated Black Charities and the Greater Baltimore Committee.
The average wage for such jobs is more than $58,000 a year. That’s 61 percent higher than the average wage for a non-STEM related job. Fortunately, Baltimore is rich in industry sectors hungry for middle- skill STEM workers.
Opportunities like this always come with their challenges. For one, the public and private sectors need to heighten the awareness about middle-skill STEM job opportunities in communities that suffer from high unemployment.
Business and government also need to improve pathways for those lacking the education or training requirements to get up to speed and into those good jobs.
If we can leverage this growing middle-skill STEM job base to its full potential, it surely will open doors and offer brighter futures for some of the Baltimore area residents who have a hard time finding either.
I’m Don Fry, President and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee.
Listen to the commentary here.