Washington — Business Roundtable welcomed President Trump’s memorandum directing the Department of Education to make computer science and the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields priorities for funding through its federal grant programs.
The presidential memorandum will guide the department’s awarding of $200 million annually in discretionary grant funds.
“We support the Administration making STEM education, particularly computer science, a priority in its federal grant making,” said Wes Bush, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Northrop Grumman and Chair of the Business Roundtable Education and Workforce Committee.
“America’s CEOs have long said technology should join reading, writing and math as a foundation for ensuring a child’s education,” Bush continued. “CEOs also believe that expanding the opportunities to pursue STEM study and careers is in America’s national interest, and we are encouraged that the presidential memorandum also focuses on rural and minority communities.”
In a 2016 Business Roundtable survey of member companies, more than half of the respondents identified the lack of skilled workers and applicants to be problematic or very problematic for their company and industry.
The companies cited STEM-specific fields as both highly relevant to their business and in short supply among qualified applicants. The shortage was particularly severe in cybersecurity and data science, they reported.
The survey is online at http://businessroundtable.org/resources/2016-brt-education-and-workforce-survey.