TED Director Roger Curtis: White House focus on STEM, computer science supports Michigan's career education efforts

Media Contact: Dave Murray
517-243-7530 | murrayd5@michigan.gov

Sept. 29, 2017

LANSING, Mich. — The White House’s investment in STEM and computer science education supports Michigan’s career education efforts to make students aware of opportunities for good jobs and the training they need to get them, said Roger Curtis, director of the state Department of Talent and Economic Development.

The Trump administration this week directed the U.S. Department of Education to establish a goal of devoting at least $200 million per year in grants to expand access to high-quality STEM and computer science education, and explore administrative actions to focus on computer science in existing K-12 and post-secondary programs.

That followed the Internet Association’s announcement of a private sector commitment of more than $300 million dedicated to K-12 computer science programs over five years.

“Too many high-tech, good-paying jobs are going unfilled in Michigan because employers can’t find people with the skills they need, and too many students aren’t aware of the opportunities that exist and the pathways to get the right training,” Curtis said. 

“The planned federal and private investments support Michigan’s model for career education. More students are taking classes in science, technology, engineering and math and Michigan has strong partnerships with Microsoft, Facebook, Cisco and Google to build and grow sustainable computer science programs for students.”  

Michigan also is working with partners such as FIRST Robotics, Square One Education Network and SkillsUSA to inspire students, using STEM subjects to design robots and vehicles for competitions.

According to the Bureau of Labor Market Information, STEM occupations in Michigan are projected to grow significantly faster than overall jobs though 2024 – growing nearly double the statewide rate for other jobs. Roughly one out of every eight new Michigan jobs created between 2014 and 2024 will be a STEM occupation – an increase of nearly 41,000 jobs.

Computer system design and related services alone are expected to add 10,390 jobs.

Curtis said more schools need to offer computer science classes, and that TED is working closely with the Michigan Department of Education, along with the Michigan Career Pathways Alliance, to make Michigan stronger for generations to come.

The Michigan Career Pathways Alliance includes educators, employers and labor and community leaders, and is working to ensure every child in the state knows about the skills needed for the jobs of today and tomorrow, and that schools have support they need to enhance programs.

The alliance’s recommendations include showcasing the flexibility within the Michigan Merit Curriculum, including using computer science to meet foreign language requirements.

“With the Governor's strong support and laser focus on talent, you are going to see the Michigan Career Pathways Alliance continue to be creative and move quickly with determination to carry out our initiatives,” Curtis said. 

Additional information about the Michigan Career Pathways Alliance and its recommendations is found here.