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By Mario McKellop

Students and parents need to become familiar with STEAM.

According to a report by Price Waterhouse Coopers, 40 percent of the jobs in the current US jobs market will be gone by the year 2030. Recent innovations in automation will result in the elimination of swathes of jobs in retail, telecommunications and food service. As such, parents should prepare their children for this shift by ensuring they have the skills and education needed to compete in the coming marketplace. Specifically, skills and education related to STEAM.

STEAM stands for:

  • Science,
  • Technology,
  • Engineering,
  • Art, and
  • Math

The acronym represents a group of academic disciplines that have become increasingly important in recent years. While the term STEAM may be unfamiliar, it’s actually an evolution of STEM, an acronym meaning science, technology, engineering, and math. As this Concordia University-Portland article explains, the A in STEAM plays a key role in helping students get interested in STEM. The idea is that by integrating art and design elements into STEM learning, young people will bolster their ability to think creatively and critically, which is essential to driving engagement.

Many educators and analysts believe that integrated STEAM courses are incredibly important to the future success of the US workforce for two key reasons. One is that, as opposed to the 5-8 percent job growth rate among all sectors, jobs in STEM fields will grow by 14 percent. Having skills and education that are in demand by employers will help workers find lucrative and satisfying jobs.

The other is that the majority of today’s college students aren’t interested STEM jobs. A National Center for Education Statistics study found that only 30 percent of US graduates have degrees in STEM-related fields. This is a problem since a recent McKinsey study found that US employers are struggling to find qualified applicants to fill necessary computer programming and information technology positions.

Los Angeles-based parents who are interested in helping their children find bright futures working in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics should consider looking into local STEAM-related organizations, programs and events like LA Makerspace, FreeCodeCamp, DIY Girls, Carbon FIVE, and Los Angeles City College’s STEM Pathways. These programs specialize in providing young people with the education, skills, and inspiration they’ll need to obtain fulfilling and economically secure careers later in life.