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STEM Degrees as Stepping Stones

Over at The New York Times' Economix blog, Motoko Rich discusses what she calls "the rising value of a science degree," in light of a new report out of Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce. Rich says the report, which is based on US census and National Science Foundation data, says professions that rely on skills learned in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields "are the second-fastest growing occupational group in the United States, after health care." She adds that "while traditional fields like computer engineering and laboratory research make up about 5 percent of the work force, demand for science, technology, engineering, and math skills is spreading far beyond, to occupations in manufacturing, utilities, transportation and mining, as well as to sales and management." The Georgetown report also highlights that STEM workers can earn higher wages than those in other disciplines. "On average, 65 percent of those who hold a bachelor's degree in such fields will earn more than those who hold master's degrees in other subjects," Rich says. Study co-author Anthony Carnevale tells the Times that a STEM education is a stepping stone to a wide range of careers. "You get a bigger bump going in, and almost at every stage you have other options," Carnevale says.