During some particularly challenging times these last few years, our state has made clear – again and again – that whether it was meeting the challenge of the federal race to the top contest, trying to reopen the shuttered refinery at Delaware City, tackling rapidly rising pension and health care costs, or putting our state back on the path to financial stability – our model has always been that Delawareans come together to fight alongside each other for things that matter.
And I can’t imagine a more pressing challenge than the global battle for talent and jobs currently under way. I had a chance to talk with the CEO of the Gallup Company recently, who said there are 3 billion people in the world looking for work, and only 1.2 billion jobs available. It is truly a global competition for jobs.
In a recent report on what the fastest growing companies in the world looked for first and foremost when it came to how and where they decide to invest, the top factor they mentioned again and again was the talent and training of the available workforce – which is so dependent on great public schools. Specifically, the high-wage, high potential jobs of the future depend on the strength of education in what are called STEM subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
Last year, we convened a STEM Council to take a look at how we can be more competitive in this area. It was a great example of how Delaware pulls together – business leaders, educators, researchers – even its co-Chair and former Senator Ted Kaufman. These community leaders donated thousands of hours of time to create a strong series of recommendations on how we can better prepare our kids for the future. The full report is available at stem.delaware.gov.
They gave their time because it is critical to our national and economic interest that we own STEM innovation in the future as thoroughly as we owned mechanical innovation in the past. It’s our obligation to nation’s future leaders that we equip them with the tools, networks and opportunities that STEM can offer them, so that the unlimited potential you can sense in this place and in these kids will truly lead our state, and nation, forward.