Using Regional Data Collection to Inform University Led Initiatives: The Case of a STEM SWOT Analysis
Abstract: According to the National Science Foundation (2006), science and engineering jobs are a growing sector of the United States economy, but the number of people earning science and engineering degrees has lagged behind the growth in science and engineering occupations. Increasing the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) pipeline in the Midwest is a vital part of increasing and maintaining its economic stature. This objective is perhaps more significant in a specific seven-county region located in a Midwestern state, as this region serves as a vital part of the state’s economy and accounts for 34% of the state’s workforce. According to the census data, this seven-county region is the most racially diverse area of the state, making it of particular importance to develop underrepresented students and professionals in the STEM fields. As such, this manuscript provides a critical analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of STEM programs, as well as an evaluation of potential threats to and opportunities for improvement concerning the recruitment and retention of STEM graduates and professionals in the seven-county region. Specifically, empirical data were collected from diverse constituencies and key stakeholders within the STEM community. Targeted participants included STEM professionals residing in and around the seven-county region of study. This paper is authored by Jerlando F. L. Jackson and LaVar J. Charleston, of Wisconsin's Equity and Inclusion Laboratory, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Keywords: STEM - STEM-Increase K-20 Interest and College Enrollment - K-12 Outreach - Conference Proceedings