Career Learning for Adult Self-Sufficiency (CLASS)


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Interest vs Intent: The New STEM GAP

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)--Want to learn more about the state of affairs with STEM careers and youth?

The ACT recently released a study suggesting that there is a gap between youth interested in STEM and those who plan to pursue a STEM major or career.   The report, The Condition of STEM 2013, found that nearly one out of eleven ACT-tested 2013 graduates responded to an interest inventory indicating they were exclusively interested in STEM careers, yet these test takers had no plans to pursue a STEM major or career.   Findings in this new report are supported by the conclusions in the College Choice Report that shows students are often planning to pursue majors or careers that don’t match their interest.   Previous ACT research has shown that when students chose majors that align with their interest, they are more likely to stay in school and finish in a timely manner.  To access the national or state reports, go to:

In the State of Union address President Obama emphasized the need to train more Americans in STEM related fields.  While there continues to be a shortage of qualified professionals in STEM careers, overall student interest is high according to Jon Erickson, ACT president.   The challenge is that youth may not be connecting the dots between their innate interest and STEM careers.

Here is a tool that can help the youth you work with see if their interests align with STEM careers: My Next Move

We want to hear from you! What are your suggestions on how to bridge the gap between youth interest in STEM and understanding of jobs in the STEM field? Share ideas and projects your community supports that create learning opportunities in STEM occupations.