ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A recent study showed Arkansas ranks low when it comes to STEM professionals in the state compared to other states. It ranks 48th overall.
This data was a shock to the principal and vice principal at LISA Academy Rogers-Bentonville. The school has a STEM-focused learning model that encourages learning prep for higher education. According to principal Huseyin Altunkaya, 65% of graduates from LISA go into STEM fields.
He thinks getting more people into STEM fields out of college is going to come down to one thing.
“It’s just going to increase as we increase the number of schools focusing on STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering and math,” Altunkaya said.
The vice principal and dean of students, Barbarita Ussery, was surprised to hear of the report when in Northwest Arkansas, big names in the corporate world are promoting those kinds of jobs. She said the world is transitioning to those positions, and something so prominent shouldn’t be lacking in our area.
According to Ussery, once more kids and parents are educated on the possibilities within STEM, more kids will be inspired to pursue those careers.
“We’re a way more technology-based society than what we’ve ever had been before. In order for our kids to be able to compete for jobs, businesses, or a lucrative lifestyle, we have to be able to keep up with the times and that is going to go towards STEM career,” Ussery said.
Ussery believes STEM jobs will continue to flourish and even industries like agriculture could soon see STEM positions and ideas.
“Even as someone like myself who was raised in an agricultural family, even that is going to go towards STEM based with the energy efficiencies and how to produce more without the harm on the environment. I think eventually, it’s just going to all follow the pattern of where we’re headed,” Ussery said.
You can read the full report by WalletHub here.