Economic Policy InstituteHave you ever considered the fact that you may not get a job after graduating college, much less high school? After your hard work over the course of four years with tireless effort and sleepless nights, it may result in you being unemployed for 6-18 months. Scary thought, isn’t it? Unfortunately, this is the sad reality for many new college graduates. According to the Economic Policy Institute, 7.2 percent of young college graduates are unemployed and 14.9 percent of new graduates are “underemployed,” meaning they’re either jobless but searching, working part-time or want a job but have given up after a year of searching with no luck. How much of this unemployment and “underemployment” do you think could be attributed to the type of job and field of study recent graduates are searching for? Let’s take a look… The current labor market in the United States and all across the globe is in high demand for more employees with STEM degrees. Studies across the country are indicating that less and less college undergraduates have attained college degrees with a STEM focus. A recent study in Austin, Texas shows an average of 2,815 STEM job openings in the area each year. However, only 422 high school graduates from the local area high school, Central Texas High School, have a bachelor’s degree in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics field. What exactly are these numbers saying and why is it even important? Basically, there’s a mismatch between what the labor market needs and what our middle and high school students are being introduced and exposed to prior to them getting to college. Many students are graduating from college and going into fields that are heavily saturated, leaving thousands of jobs open that are unable to be filled due to applicants not having the type of degree necessary to excel in these jobs. More and more, we hear of students graduating from college and unable to find work within their fields. As a result, we need to start exposing students to more opportunities and other fields of study to ensure these jobs are being filled with the right applicants and that more college graduates are able to enter the workforce upon graduation. Here are some ways students and parents can work to get on track for a STEM degree:

1. Whatever you do, don’t drop those math classes.

Students are required to take math classes up to Algebra II in the state of Georgia and many others. A study conducted by Texas-based non-profit research company, E3 Alliance, shows that only 8 percent of high school students who mastered Algebra II got a STEM bachelor’s degree. However if students took one more math class such as pre-calculus, their chances of getting a STEM degree more than doubled. Don’t stop at Algebra II just because it’s the requirement. Take math classes throughout the four years of high school to increase your chances of attaining a STEM degree. Unsure about which math class may be the right fit? Talk to your guidance counselor to discuss your options and what path works best for you. MathSP is also here to provide academic coaching in all middle and high school math classes to ensure you understand the concepts and applications being taught in real time.

2. Find STEM-focused events in your area.

Today, more organizations, businesses, and non-profits are realizing the importance of STEM amongst students as early as elementary school. Each month, a number of STEM-focused events are held throughout the metro-Atlanta area to help cultivate fluency in science, technology, engineering and math subjects. MathSP lists these STEM-focused events as they become available, and we encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities to better understand the importance of STEM and how beneficial it can be for students.

3. College and career planning is key.

It’s important that students and parents work together along with school counselors to discuss college and career plans throughout their years in high school. Including MathSP’s regular Knowledge for College! workshop, schools host various functions and workshops that provide a great wealth of information about college and career planning. It’s critical that parents and students attend these functions to stay well informed on the opportunities students can take advantage of. To lean more about our Knowledge for College! workshops, please call or email us.   Here at MathSP, our students are the next generation of inventors, problem-solvers, and game changers. It is our responsibility to ignite their curiosity and passion for the world they live in. It doesn’t stop after high school but continues on to through college years and their careers. Learn about the ways MathSP can help students achieve success for the 2015-2016 school year and beyond through our Academic Coaching and Standardized Test Prep Coaching.