Merging STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and entrepreneurship education ensures that students reach their full potential and are equipped with the necessary skill sets for an ever-changing world. Career paths in STEM disciplines are increasingly entrepreneurial. STEM workers are less likely to experience joblessness than their non-STEM counterparts, and entrepreneurs are always able to recognize an opportunity to create their own career path. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 65 percent of children starting school today will need skills for jobs that do not yet exist. In a world that is advancing faster than ever before, students must be equipped with an imperative and non-traditional skill set in order to adapt and be successful.
STEM education is an interdisciplinary approach to learning where academic concepts are paired with real-world lessons as students apply science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in contexts that make connections between school, community, and work. This discipline lends itself well to entrepreneurship education, which contrary to popular opinion is not solely about encouraging students to start businesses. It aids students from all socioeconomic backgrounds to think outside the box and nurture unconventional talents and skills through lifelong learning, smart failures, creativity, and drive. Skill sets obtained from both STEM and entrepreneurship education include problem solving, creativity, design thinking, inquiry skills, critical thinking, and collaboration. They enable students to offer solutions and add value to situations in their communities and future jobs.
STEM and entrepreneurship education are vastly inter-connected. STEM education is a gateway for many entrepreneurs as jobs “STEM” from entrepreneurship. Both educational approaches result in individuals who take thoughtful risks, fail forward, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process with design thinking. They create opportunities, catalyze innovation, instill confidence, and stimulate the economy. STEM and entrepreneurship education both also provide the “why” behind what students are learning, so that they are able to apply these skills with purpose in nearly every facet of their future careers and everyday lives.
In today’s rapidly changing world, STEM and entrepreneurship education will create the next generation of innovators, doers, movers and shakers through the innovative mindsets and skill sets they gain from an early age. These concepts will drive our nation’s innovation and competitiveness by generating new ideas, new companies, and new industries. They allow students to succeed in any career path and prepare them to create their own. STEM and entrepreneurship education are the present and future of education and tomorrow’s workforce.