Friday, July 25, 2014

Why STEM is TE: post-secondary education requirements edition

From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, a fascinating microcosm of the STEM problem: 
Casale said during the recession, the education level expected by Minnesota employers rose and as the state bounced back, degree requirements fell. In June, the state had the 10th-lowest unemployment rate in the nation. 
Still, there are remaining factors that determine a higher degree’s level of success — especially its area of focus. In the fourth quarter of last year, 80 percent of responding computer and mathematical employers in Minnesota required post-secondary education and 92 percent required at least one year of previous experience, according to the Job Vacancy Survey.
That contrasts with life, physical and social sciences, where about 95 percent of employers required post-secondary education and just over 80 percent of them required previous experience. 
In the survey, the department asks employers twice a year for the lowest level of degree that would qualify someone to fill their positions. Casale said the job market for biological science graduates isn’t as strong as it is for those who go into engineering and chemistry. 
Dani Mae Janssen, a mechanical engineering doctoral candidate, said she hopes to leave the University [of Minnesota -- CJ's note] next spring and pursue work as an academic or do research, potentially around Minneapolis. 
She said she doesn’t think employers consider people with less than a master’s degree for open positions in her field. But she said she lacks the internships that other students have and that employers have come to expect. 
For now, the only way the University tracks its graduate students after they leave is through their chosen program, said Belinda Cheung, assistant vice provost of the University’s Graduate School, and definitive numbers for given departments and degrees aren’t easy to locate.
Longtime readers of this blog will note that computer science positions want less education and experience than life, physical and social sciences, which is either evidence that 1) they're willing to train their people more or 2) they have reasonable job growth in their field.

Also, I think it's fascinating that the University of Minnesota and its programs are basically willing to admit that it doesn't know really what happens to its graduates after they leave the university. It's almost as if LinkedIn (and Google and the telephone and perhaps the United States Postal Service) doesn't exist. Ah, well.

1 comment:

  1. They seem to have problem tracking me down to ask for money.