Illinois Looks to Increase STEM Grads, Narrow the Skills Gap
The skills gap, particularly in Chicago’s tech community, has been a growing concern for some time. The latest issue of the Illinois Innovation Index examines the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education in equipping graduates with the necessary skills to fill open positions across Chicagoland and drive innovation in the process.
According to the report, Illinois currently has 140,000 unfilled jobs because workers lack the specific skills that these jobs require. The concentration of degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math is a good indication of a state’s ability to develop the right mix of talent to create and attract new high tech jobs.
The Innovation Index discovered that after the number of STEM degrees peaked in 2003, it declined steadily until 2007. It has seen a gradual rise since, but still remains below the national average. The state of Illinois hopes to increase these numbers to foster innovation, build a talent pool, and align programs with job openings in the region.
The Chamber launched the Illinois Innovation Index as an information resource that provides analysis and insights on business development and economic activity in our state that examines a different issue each month.