Meeting the Need for Silicon Valley’s Educational Needs – Northwestern Polytechnic University

The modern economy requires a modern, technology-based workforce. To meet that need, states across the country have been striving to increase the number of STEM graduates they produce each year. This is particularly true in California, which leads the nation by a wide margin regarding the number of people employed in STEM fields.

At universities like Northwestern Polytechnic University, degree programs are designed to teach students the principles of technology for careers in computer science and applied engineering and information technology. All to meet the need for a modern workforce.

What Silicon Valley Needs from Universities

Technology-based industries are one of the fastest-growing areas in the United States. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information technology jobs will increase by 22% between 2010 and 2020 – a rate that is almost double that of any other industry.

In addition, Silicon Valley’s economy is reliant upon new technologies and innovations. According to a report by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, this area of California produced 40% of total U.S. venture capital in 2009 alone.

For these jobs to remain available, universities must help produce a workforce capable of filling those positions – and quickly. Moreover, as technology has evolved from the days of mainframes to the Internet and mobile devices, the need for college-educated workers to apply those technologies effectively has become even more crucial.

The Need for STEM Graduates

In addition to increased opportunities in technology-based industries, a recent report issued by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) noted that there would be a need for 1 million STEM professionals in the next decade.

These skilled workers will be needed to fill technology jobs, such as those mentioned above, and in traditional professions like science and engineering. Yet, according to a study by the National Science Foundation (NSF), only half of U.S citizens that hold degrees in scientific or technical areas find employment in STEM-related fields.

What Universities are Doing to Meet Demand

The shortage of STEM workers in the United States means that there is a tremendous pool of opportunities available to those who are well-educated. Universities across the country are striving to meet this demand by producing graduates with the skills sought after in today’s market, which includes applied knowledge of computers and an understanding of technology’s impact on society.

One example is the rise of online degree programs in information technology. These are specifically designed for students who have the desire to enter the IT field without having to attend traditional college classes on campus.

These online options, along with traditional degree courses, allow busy adults with professional or family obligations to fulfill their educational goals. Not only is this beneficial for people who may not be able to attend college full-time, but it also allows an increased number of students to get a higher education, which can expand their occupational pool and increase their earning potential.