Summer vacation has arrived for our students, but there is no rest for those who work to improve our educational system. They understand that if we properly educate and train our young people, we can simultaneously create jobs and strengthen our economy.
In a world where technology shapes our daily lives, there is much opportunity for job growth in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in scientific and technical services is projected to grow by 29 percent by 2020 - adding another 2.1 million jobs.
As co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus, I consider STEM education a top priority. However, I have also come to realize, along with educators and lawmakers nationwide, that technological innovation is most successful when it incorporates the principles of art and design, turning STEM to STEAM. I was honored to welcome House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to Rhode Island last week, and at a roundtable discussion at the Rhode Island School of Design, we explored ways in which design makes technology more appealing and functional. RISD is on the cutting-edge of arts education, with a reputation that extends far beyond Rhode Island's borders, and we need to highlight those types of resources.
When we show young people the possibility of a future in STEAM, they will do the rest. I meet students like Shu Hua Lin, this year's winner of Rhode Island's Second Congressional District High School Art Competition, and I am encouraged that this work will pay dividends in our future. Fostering creativity at every level of education gets our students thinking outside the box, and those bright ideas today, will lead to innovation tomorrow.
As your representative, I rely on your feedback to direct my work in Washington. Please share your ideas by writing on my wall, tweeting your comments to me or getting in touch via email.