What is STEM? - CS Alliance

What is STEM?

"Christians among the teachers are called to be witnesses and educators of authentic Christian life, which evidences attained integration between faith and life, and between professional competence and Christian wisdom. All teachers are to be inspired by academic ideals and by the principles of an authentically human life.” ~ Saint John Paul II


The acronym STEM stands for “science, technology, engineering and mathematics”. STEM education emphasizes learning about these disciplines in a blended manner rather than in independent silos. In a STEM-focused classroom, the teacher regularly integrates all of these concepts during instruction. Students, in turn, often engage in collaborative, project-based exercises that focus on solving real-world problems.

The Importance of STEM

Research shows that a STEM curriculum fosters critical-thinking skills along with the ability to work collaboratively on project-based work. Having these skills is critical for academic success in high school, in college and beyond.

These same skills are in high demand in the workforce. For example:

  • “Employment in [STEM] occupations has grown 79% since 1990, from 9.7 million to 17.3 million, outpacing overall U.S. job growth.” 1
  • “More than 7 million jobs in the U.S. remain unfilled as employers struggle to find candidates with the right mix of skills, illustrating a misalignment between workforce supply and industry demands.” 2
  • “The need for STEM workers is such that big companies such as Google, Apple and Ernst and Young are willing to consider workers without a traditional college degree as long as they can prove they have the required skills.” 3
  • “Among those with some college education, the typical full-time, year-round STEM worker earns $54,745 while a similarly educated non-STEM worker earns $40,505, or 26% less. … Non-STEM workers with a master’s degree typically earn 26% less than STEM workers with similar education.” 4

Research also shows that the benefits of STEM education carry over to those who pursue careers outside of the STEM fields. For example, a Pew Research Center analysis found that non-STEM workers with a STEM college degree earn about 18% more than those with a non-STEM degree. 5


1 https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/01/09/7-facts-about-the-stem-workforce/
2 https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2019-05-22/how-to-prepare-for-the-fourth-industrial-revolution
3 https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2018-08-23/americans-think-they-have-a-shortage-of-stem-workers
4 https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/01/09/7-facts-about-the-stem-workforce/
5 Ibid.