Report: STEM worker shortage questioned

WICHITA, Kansas – For years there’s been a push to get more students involved in classes focusing on science, technology, engineering and math or STEM for short.

That’s because the technology industry reports a shortage of trained workers.

But, a recently published study points out the STEM shortages are not as bad as the industry suggests.

Researchers with the Center For Immigration Studies points to numbers from the U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics that shows there will be more combined STEM degrees than jobs by 2020.

“The problem with employees saying that there is a labor shortage is usually that there’s so, there people around they could hire but they don’t want to pay the extra 1,000 or so to hire them so they say that there’s shortage and therefore they should be allowed to bring in more foreign workers and that’s what we object to,” said David North, with the Center For Immigration Studies.

Meanwhile area schools are focusing on STEM education, including Wichita Area Technical College.

President Tony Kinkel says he doesn’t believe the CIS projections apply to Wichita because of a growing global aviation market.

“It’s the spin offs from aviation that actually are growing as fast as aviation so its huge for Kansas so that’s why we don’t pay too much attention to these national reports because we know what Kansas needs,” Kinkel said.

Stem jobs account for more than 56,000 jobs here in the Wichita metro area, accounting for about 21% of the workforce.

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