As we enter high school graduation season, we have much to celebrate. Our sons, daughters, grandchildren, nieces and nephews are either pursuing post-secondary education or starting careers. However, there is one major question we must ask: Are they ready? Are they ready to start college without taking remedial classes in core subjects like math and English? Are they ready to help Oregon businesses innovate and grow in today's global economy?
These are questions that Oregon businesses consider each day as they struggle to find highly skilled workers with the academic knowledge and deeper learning skills — critical-thinking, collaboration and communication — that are needed to fill jobs. The number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs in Oregon is expected to grow by 19 percent between 2010 and 2020. Most of these STEM jobs (94 percent) will require post-secondary education or training by 2018, and 69 percent will require a bachelor's degree or higher.