Re-defining The Stem Industry
Hispanic Engineer & Information Technology|Fall 2019 Volume 34 Issue 2
Blue-collar STEM careers are changing the way we think about Stem
Alfred Lewis

When you think about STEM careers, what occupations come to mind? Do you think of specially trained and hard-to-get technical jobs, like a nuclear engineer or perhaps managerial positions within a STEM field?

While some careers in STEM command a four-year or graduate degree, over half of all STEM jobs are available to applicants without a traditional four-year college degree. In addition to these fields, coding is a rapidly growing and well-paying career that is considered by Wired to be the “next big blue-collar job.” Debunking the myth that coders need to be highly advanced, innovative designers, Wired describes a growing group of coders who manage and maintain websites, login portals, etc.

Another large segment of blue-collar STEM jobs include occupations that require apprenticeships and learned technical skills that lead to higher earnings, like electricians, plumbers, and HVAC technicians. These valuable workers install, service, and maintain vital infrastructures from as large as state and citywide systems to individual businesses and homes. According to The Hidden STEM Economy, “installation, maintenance, and repair occupations constitute 12 percent of all STEM jobs, one of the largest occupational categories.”

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