What Government Data Can Do About the Shortage of Science and Tech Skills


First, a data jam on STEM workforce issues.

Experts from both the public and private sector are coming together to develop new products and prototypes to help address the shortages of workers in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

Entrepreneurs, data manipulators, human resource experts, federal data owners and government leaders met up in late January to brainstorm ways of using open data to measure and improve the quality, skills, diversity and career paths of employees in STEM fields. The goal of the gathering, hosted by the Office of Personnel Management and the White House Office of Science in Technology Policy, was to ensure federal agencies have the tools and know-how to effectively attract and retain STEM talent going forward.

The event – OSTP’s first-ever “Data Jam” on STEM workforce issues – brought together experts from the public and private sector who volunteered their time and expertise to develop apps, platforms, application programming interfaces (APIs) and data visualizations to address STEM workforce issues as they relate to the federal government.

A report released in 2012 by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology found that existing research on STEM degree production rates pointed to a shortage of 1 million STEM workers over the next 10 years. The report outlined a strategy for improving STEM education during the first two years of college – a crucial time period for developing STEM talent.

An OSTP spokeswoman told Wired Workplace that experts who participated in the data jam are currently working together in small teams to develop products and prototypes to address STEM workforce issues. Those efforts will be showcased later this year, she said. 

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