Governor Martin O'Malley announced today that Maryland college students are graduating from Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) degree programs at record rates. From 2006 to 2013, the number of STEM graduates from Maryland colleges and universities increased by 37.1% from 9,544 in 2006 to 13,082 in 2013.
In September 2008, Governor O'Malley created the Governor's STEM Task Force to make recommendations aimed at establishing Maryland as a global leader in the development of its future workforce and its STEM-based research and economic development infrastructure. One of the recommendations of the Task Force was to increase the number of STEM college graduates in Maryland by 40 percent by the year 2015. Governor O'Malley accepted these recommendations and included them in his sixteen strategic policy goals. Especially in light of today's announcement, Maryland is on track to meet that goal.
Maryland continues to be a leader in STEM education, having been the first state in the nation to set specific STEM education standards that tell teachers not just what STEM is, but how to teach the subjects. A STEM education is critical to ensuring that students can compete for and obtain jobs in Maryland where there is a growing demand for skilled workers to fill federal research laboratories and cybersecurity jobs.
"Ensuring that our students are prepared to compete in the economy of tomorrow is an important part of strengthening STEM education in Maryland," said Governor O'Malley. "STEM programs offer our students the opportunity to broaden their skills, learn about new, cutting edge technology, and compete for jobs in fields such as technology, cybersecurity, and advanced manufacturing. Together, we will continue to provide our students with access to a high-quality education to ensure economic opportunity and strengthen and grow our middle class."
Governor O'Malley was joined at today's event by Jennifer Frank, the Assistant Secretary of the Maryland Higher Education Commission. Frank discussed the importance of a STEM education in building a 21st century economy.
"Continuing to increase the number of STEM degrees awarded to students is a key goal for Maryland postsecondary education," said Frank. "Our colleges and universities are committed to attracting, retaining, and graduating students in these critical disciplines, as well as preparing high-quality teachers who will educate the STEM collegians of the future. We appreciate and commend the efforts of our two-year and four-year institutions throughout the state."
President Freeman Hrabowski of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County stated that we need to broaden the appeal of STEM to individuals with diverse backgrounds.
"We need to be doing more to change perceptions about who belongs in STEM fields," Hrabowski said. "At UMBC, for instance, our Center for Women in Information Technology (CWIT) is playing an important role helping women recognize their potential to become technology professionals and entrepreneurs. Preparing students from all backgrounds for technology-related careers -- including many careers in which the arts, humanities, and social sciences play a vital role -- will help our state and the nation remain competitive."
University of Maryland University College's President, Javier Miyares, added, "Maryland is the epicenter of the STEM-related cybersecurity industry and UMUC is now producing thousands of graduates who are filling key roles in this field that is vital to our economy and national security," stated Miyares. "In fact, we are building a spirit of community around STEM-success through our championship cyber security competition teams. We cheer for our UMUC Cyber Padawans the way students at other universities cheer for their basketball teams."
Increasing the number of STEM graduates is a key piece of the O'Malley-Brown Administration's education agenda, which includes holding tuition at Maryland's four-year institutions to a 3.3% increase (the lowest in the nation) and having the number one public schools for a record five years in a row.