Employment in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) occupations has grown 79% since 1990, from 9.7 million to 17.3 million, outpacing overall U.S. job growth, according to a study by Pew Research. Boise State is pushing that envelope, as roughly one in four student-athletes are STEM majors. Additionally, The Idaho Department of Labor predicts upwards of 100,000 STEM jobs will exist in Idaho by 2024. These jobs will represent $6.5 billion in personal income and almost $350 million in tax revenue if Idaho’s workforce is prepared to fill them.
Promoting STEM to Future Workforce
Understanding the important of STEM to the economy of Idaho, the university recently teamed up with the Idaho STEM Action Center and Idaho National Laboratory to host STEM Day on The Blue. Members of the Broncos’ football, men’s and women’s basketball, soccer, volleyball, golf, tennis, and track and field teams joined cheerleaders and Buster Bronco as they coached 260 Treasure Valley and Idaho City elementary school students through hands-on science, technology, engineering and math activities.
BroncoLIFE, a Boise State Athletics program, worked with STEMfinity, a local educational supply store, to design five stations that participating elementary students rotated through utilizing student-athletes to demonstrate you can be both an athlete and a scientist. They created electronics projects with Snap Circuits modules, assembled and launched water rockets capable of blasting off over 30 feet, completed team-based structural-design challenges with KEVA maple planks, experimented with light using prisms and lasers, and built simple machines incorporating levers, pulleys, inclined planes, wedges, and wheels and axles.
The Idaho STEM Action Center was created in 2015 because Idaho citizens are not entering the STEM pipeline fast enough to meet current and future Idaho workforce needs. It is working with industry, government, educators and students to develop resources and teacher professional-development opportunities to foster a STEM-educated workforce that ensures Idaho’s continued economic prosperity.