STEM is everywhere—from our beaches and wetlands to our technology driven companies to our PreK-12, community college and four-year college classrooms. Every Orange County child needs a strong foundation in science and mathematics coupled with an understanding of engineering and technology applications to be competitive at the local, national and international levels. Some of the most rapidly expanding job prospects for Orange County children and youth are in the STEM fields. Computer programmers, science teachers, bio-medical technicians, health care workers, engineers of all sorts and other STEM related professionals are increasingly in demand to meet the needs of our county’s economy and will be asked to solve local, national and global challenges in areas including energy, health, environment and national security.
Orange County’s STEM education, training and workforce development will determine whether there is a highly skilled workforce that can compete in a global marketplace and ensure our county continues to make fundamental discoveries that advance science and technology. This type of focus on STEM education, training and workforce development will produce a new crop of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians who will create new ideas, new products and new fields in the 21st century.
The Federal government has identified improving STEM education and stimulating interest in U.S. PreK-12 students in STEM coursework, research and careers through integration of technology and innovative teaching methods as their educational priority. In California, the development of the California’s STEM Learning Network addresses California’s workforce needs and to better prepare the state’s students to be college and career ready, with a greater number of students pursuing STEM related degrees and careers. The OC STEM Network is part of the California statewide STEM effort.