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McKinsey Advocates for More Training Programs and STEM Graduates

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July 19, 2013

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McKinsey Advocates for More Training Programs and STEM Graduates

On Wednesday the Committee for Economic Development put on an event discussing the recent McKinsey Global Institute’s report, Game Changers: Five Opportunities for US Growth and Renewal. These game changers are proposed to jump start the economy and substantially contribute to gross domestic product (GDP):

  • Increasing shale production
  • Increasing trading of knowledge-intensive goods such as airplanes and petrochemicals
  • Making advances in big data analysis
  • Investing in infrastructure
  • Investing in developing talent

One of the ways the report suggests we develop talent is by creating more effective worker training programs that provide non-degree credentials. Expanding industry-specific training programs could add $7 billion, up to nearly $15 billion, to annual GDP by 2020, and would make a difference to workers as well. For instance, metalworking certificate holders earn nearly $45,000 per year, which is the median wage of 25- to 34-year-old bachelor’s degree holders. In addition to addressing the need for additional funding for these programs, the report argues for gathering more information about where jobs are located, what skills are required for jobs and where training opportunities are available.

In addition to worker training programs, the report discussed a need for increasing the number of two- and four-year STEM graduates.  Only 14 percent of incoming freshmen choose a STEM major, and nearly 50 percent will change majors before graduation.  One fix suggested is more hands-on research for young students. For instance, the EXPRESS program at the University of Missouri gives freshmen and sophomores research experience, letting students experience the connection between their classroom education and real-world experiences. The program has a 90 percent retention rate. Higher wage STEM jobs and lower unemployment rates for STEM grads would add $25 billion to annual GDP by 2020.

The full report can be seen here.

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