by Rachel Vilsack

Think about key skills needed in today’s workplace: problem solving, analytical thinking, and the ability to work independently. What do they all have in common? They’re all related to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). And STEM careers may be more prevalent than you think.


A new report from the Brookings Institution found two STEM economies:

  1. Professional STEM economy, where jobs require high levels of education and cutting-edge research and technology.
  2. Technical STEM economy, where workers have vocational backgrounds or just a high school diploma and are involved in the technical and practical aspects of implementing new technologies.

scienceBoth aspects of the STEM economy are important. By increasing the definition of STEM to include both the professional and blue collar and technical careers, the number of STEM jobs in the United States  totals 26 million. Workers in these STEM occupations help drive economic growth. In fact, metropolitan regions with more STEM-oriented careers had better economic indicators, from job growth to wages.

That’s evident from these STEM facts for the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan region:

  • With over 366,000 jobs, the region ranks 14th out of the top 100 metro regions nationwide in the number of STEM jobs in 2011.
  • Just over one in five regional jobs (21.8 percent) require knowledge of science, technology, engineering, or math.
  • Just over half (56 percent) of STEM jobs require a Bachelor’s degree or higher; the remaining (44 percent) require an Associate’s degree or less.
  • STEM jobs pay higher wages. In the Twin Cities STEM jobs average $73,819, while non-STEM jobs pay $42,491.

Interested in learning more about STEM careers? Check out a list of high-demand STEM careers in Minnesota and how to prepare for a STEM career.


One thought on “Measuring STEM Jobs

  1. Great article.  Our local school district is also starting to highlight STEM both in the schools (elementary through high school) and the Community Ed programs.  Getting people/kids interested in science and technology early is key, esp since many of these careers require advanced education/degrees.  I think just looking at the number of prospective jobs and the possible earnings in the article above would help people consider STEM careers.


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