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STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics is an applied approach to a curriculum focusing on these four discipline areas. The importance of these areas in our future, and specifically as part of our government, are considered strategic. Understanding how the world works requires new knowledge, which in turn fosters curiosity; STEM satisfies this quest for knowledge and prepares us for the future. STEM Skills that are acquired include numbers, analysis, empirical data and more. Integrated into every part of our lives, STEM is the foundation for which we learn about ourselves, our environment, and our future.

With the changing world of technology and the explosion of Information Technology, every industry is impacted, and therefore, the need for qualified mathematicians, scientists, engineers and those in the technical areas are expected to fulfill these critical work roles of our future. Since STEM focuses on the critical ways in which we can understand, explore, and engage our world. Now and in the future, it is imperative that our state, local, and federal government, for example, hire these skilled workers in order to plan, implement and manage change that is necessary to meet the demands of security, technology, communication, and more, for protection, privacy and growth across the globe.

The need for STEM skills are diverse and vast. Given that these specific subjects are the very root of most of our corporation, industry, and government business across the globe, they are in high demand from employers. Consistent discovery, solution development, vulnerability discovery, mitigation, and innovation are just a few focus areas that are pertinent under the stem umbrella. Problem solving and technology, for example, will continue to challenge us as a nation; the more prepared we are with STEM knowledge, skills and abilities, the better.

In May of 2018, the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued direct hire authority (DHA) for several STEM and cyber-security occupations. Given that the knowledge, skills, and ability to work in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and cyber-security career fields and occupations are in heavy demand by a variety of organizations and businesses due to mission critical functions and objectives.  OPM recognized this immediate need and made it easier for organizations to streamline efficiencies for recruitment initiatives.

Additionally, recently the Trump Administration offered a new pay system for STEM employees, which will also boost recruitment and retention efforts in these areas. The changes are the first in a focus on STEM along with new public and private sector partnerships in development. Given the prior year’s layers of red tape and regulations, the cumbersome STEM hiring process is now updated and more current with a focus on improving processes, hiring procedures, and job retention.

As part of the hiring process for managers, STEM criteria and a set of requirements are offered by OPM who are continually capturing additional survey information to further define position justifications; qualitative and quantitative data offer specific details that contribute to the hiring process, and challenges have been streamlined to foster recruitment along with incentives for both hiring and retention. See this link that offers additional contact information and activities surrounding the specifics of DHA:

With so many STEM career opportunities, occupations, there are ample references and links to support your search that include:

In conclusion, STEM is critical to our future; knowledge, curiosity, and preparation are key elements of STEM occupations and careers across the globe. Qualified employees with the knowledge, skills, and abilities in these critical areas will serve as the foundation for innovation, security, technology, and protection across the globe. Organizations, and specifically our state, local, and federal government are developing and strengthening critical partnerships to work with private industry, academia, and military to ensure STEM training is robust and widely available. In order to meet the demands of our changing nation, STEM skills, along with innovation and technology are critical to our success; investment in the STEM area is a worthy return on investment for any and all organizations.

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About The Author

Dr. Donna Day is a Manager at the Department of Defense, where she has been for more than 30 years. With a background in Information Assurance, Customer Engagement and Marketing, more recently she has been studying Cyber security Policy and Management at the University of Maryland, University College (UMUC). She earned her Doctor of Management, Master of Business Administration, and Master of Science Degree in Technology Management at UMUC and received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing at the University of Baltimore. Dr. Day is also an Adjunct Professor at Norwich University in Vermont, where she teaches Cyber security, Critical Infrastructure and Information Assurance courses to a myriad of students, worldwide, from across the intelligence community. A published author, Baltimore Ravens fan, and life-long learner, she enjoys writing, traveling, cooking, and most importantly, spending time with her family and friends.