Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Labor is encoraging young people to pursue careers in math and science — despite recent data showing that most degree-holders are not working those fields.
During a visit to Philadelphia, Julia Hearthway said the skills in question are still highly in demand, even though the U.S. Census Bureau reported last week that three quarters of graduates with bachelor degrees in the much-talked about STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math — are not in STEM careers.
“Some of the skills gap that you hear about is a geography gap. Some of it is where the people aren’t located where those particular occupations are,” said Hearthway, who agreed with other speakers at a manufacturing summit Wednesday that employers are still eager, in fact are often desperate, to fill STEM positions.
The prevalence of skilled graduates in Southeastern Pennsylvania is an asset in marketing the region to companies looking for new locations, she said.
Another quirk of the census data is that it does not show those working in certain professions, for example as doctors, as working in STEM professions, Hearthway said.