STEM Needs Assessment
USMH recently undertook a STEM Needs Assessment, facilitated with a generous grant from the Alice Virginia and David W. Fletcher Foundation. That research led to the development of our 2015 – 2020 Strategic Vision. Supported by the region’s significant employment in health care and the fact that health care generally demands a disproportionate number of degree-holding professionals, Health Sciences was identified as a critical need for the next decade. Nursing and future physician extender programs is expected to see growth throughout the Visioning period and beyond. Support of the region’s manufacturing industry will involve applying STEM fields to advanced Workforce Development initiatives. Furthering employees’ math, engineering and other technical knowledge through certificate and degree programs will enable companies to achieve greater production efficiencies and higher quality. This should enable existing companies to expand their capabilities while strengthening the regional workforce that will lead, in turn, to new companies moving in and local entrepreneurs starting new ventures. And certainly not last were the needs that arose beyond STEM. The need to educate future Education professionals was linked with growth in our regional populations. In addition to the need for new teachers overall, STEM education is expected to continue to be emphasized in the public schools, leading to growth in the number of expertly prepared teachers in these fields. The need for a comprehensive and local secondary education program, with associated content majors (including, but not limited to, STEM) was also identified. Finally, the need for educated managers within the Hospitality and Tourism industry was identified. Historically, this industry has not required university degrees, but as it continues to professionalize, and the management of costs and markets becomes increasingly important and complex, the need for further professional education is increasing.