Postsecondary Education and STEM Employment in the United States: An Analysis of National Trends with a Focus on the Natural Gas and Oil Industry. RAND Corporation. Matthew D. Baird, Robert Bozick, Mark Harris. December 6, 2017.
This report aims to contribute new knowledge to understanding the role that postsecondary education — including bachelor’s degrees, associate’s degrees, and sub-baccalaureate credentialing programs — plays in meeting the increasing demands of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce, and particularly in the oil and natural gas industry. As the economy becomes increasingly reliant on workers with strong quantitative and analytical skills, there is a growing need for policymakers to identify efficient ways to prepare all youth — including those not continuing on to college — for careers in STEM. As part of the study, the authors analyze data from three national data sources: the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, the American Community Survey, and the Current Population Survey. The study indicates that the receipt of a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field and the attainment of a certification or license (in any field) are important educational milestones that support success in the STEM labor market. However, in both absolute and relative numbers, women and racial or ethnic minorities are less likely to earn these critical degrees and to enter STEM employment. Without stronger support for these traditionally underrepresented groups, the STEM economy in general and the oil and natural gas industry in particular may fail to optimize the pool of potential workers that it needs to sustain growth and innovation. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 100 pages, 1.03 MB].