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U.S. Policy and the STEM Workforce System
- Hira, Ron
- TheAmerican behavioral scientist 2010 v.53 no.7 pp. 949-961
- engineering, issues and policy, labor force, mathematics, United States
- This article describes the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce system and discusses various policy mechanisms that can influence it. Discussion of STEM workforce policy too often focuses on controlling single variables, such as degree production, without taking into account how it influences, and is influenced by, other variables in the system. As a result, policy outcomes frequently fall short of goals. The policy discussion can be improved by taking an approach that recognizes that the STEM workforce is a system, with interconnectedness, feedback loops, and adaptation. This article sketches elements of that system and how data can help us understand relationships among them and highlights gaps in our knowledge. It also describes some of the policy mechanisms used to affect the workforce system and suggests steps policy makers can take to improve policy outcomes.