“Do what you love” has been the advice embedded in American commencement speeches for decades. Now, however, it’s “do STEM’’ — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
“We have the brains, we have the educational capability and I’m pretty sure students want a job when they graduate high school and college. We do not have to go overseas to find our talent,” says decorated Army Ranger and entrepreneur Matthew Brosious, co-founder of FreightCenter.com. The third-party logistics company and freight software technology provider does for freight shipping what Expedia does for travel.
Brosious’ company is hiring and, for students and people interested in new careers, what it’s seeking in job candidates offers valuable insights.
“A formal STEM education is not necessarily crucial to obtaining a job in a STEM career,” says Doug Walls, FreightCenter.com’s chief information officer. Walls initially started as the company’s IT administrator and after seven years is now CIO. According to Walls:
• Often times, the best developers are the ones who have a natural aptitude and an ability to comprehend emerging technologies.
• Web development and IT offer stable careers with plenty of opportunity for placement straight out of college.
• Web technology is increasingly going more mobile as users access the Internet via smart phones and tablets, so it’s important to continue to learn about new techniques to reach this group of users.
• Following development or IT blogs and news is an excellent way to stay ahead in a progressive field.
• Having a well-designed and developed personal site offers employers like us an insight into your skill level and allows us to determine how job seekers apply the knowledge they’ve learned in school or on the job.
Located in Florida’s Tampa Bay area, Freightcenter.com does well attracting qualified professionals, Brosious says. But job creators in other parts of the country may not be so lucky.
National statistics reveal a gap between STEM jobs and potential employees that will only grow wider if trends continue unchanged:
• Only about 6 percent of U.S. graduates leave college with a STEM-based degree, compared to 28 percent in Germany, 37 percent in South Korea and 47 percent in China, according to National Center for Education Statistics.
• STEM jobs are projected to grow twice as quickly as jobs in other fields in the next five years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics.
• Eighty percent of jobs in the next decade will require significant technical skills.
• Of the 20 fastest growing occupations projected in 2014, 15 will require considerable science and/or mathematics preparation, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Brosious says getting young people interested in following a STEM track of education will require changes in the classroom beginning at an early age.
“Only one in five college students feel that their grade-school education prepared them very well for their STEM college courses,” he says, citing a recently published survey by Microsoft.
That study also indicates students who pursue STEM degrees do so because they’re inspired by a class or a teacher. And 16 percent more males than females are interested in those fields thanks to video games and clubs.
FreightCenter.com is a third-party freight logistics company that uses web-based tools to help businesses and individuals with their shipping needs. It has garnered numerous awards, including Best Companies to Work For (2011, Florida Trend); Service Industry of the Year (2010, Pasco Economic Development Council) and Top 10 Websites (2010, BtoB marketing news magazine.) Matthew Brosious and his father, James, co-founded American Freight Cos. – the parent company of www.FreightCenter.com – in 1998 to facilitate freight shipping for household, business and enterprise shippers. The service enables customers to compare carriers’ rates, book LTL, truckload and specialized freight transportation and track shipments online.