STEMming the Technology Gap

The Defense Department has invested $150 million in 16 different programs aimed at recruiting a skilled workforce in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics career fields, said Reginald Brothers, deputy assistant secretary for defense for research. Brothers said building a STEM-minded workforce will be a key to national security because the pace of technology continues to accelerate at a rapid pace. However, there are plenty of challenges along the way. For one, minorities, which will soon make up the majority of the workforce, are choosing not to go into such careers, said Brothers during a panel discussion at the “Summit on Meeting the President’s STEM Call to Action.” He said, “We have to be thinking right now [about] how do we motivate, how do we train this population of underrepresented minorities and women?” Those who are choosing STEM careers often are tempted by higher paying jobs at companies such as Google or Intel, states a June 11 Pentagon release. “If you work at some of these companies, you will be well paid, but you will work on one thing for quite a while,” said Brothers. “If you work at the Defense Department, you will work on a variety of problems throughout your career.” (See also Recruiting Unit Reaches Out with STEM Campaign.)