The world is changing. Innovations transform our nation, creating whole new industries and occupations. Every job of the future will require a basic understanding of math and science. Science and technology careers exist in a culture of inspiration, discovery, and innovation. Advances in technology will have a meaningful impact on the lives of every American.
The U.S. has fallen from 3rd to 17th in the world in the number of college graduates in engineering programs. In the U.S., only 5% of science degrees are awarded in engineering, as compared with 50% in China. It is estimated that 400,000 engineers will be needed by 2014. If it is not addressed, the expected shortage of skilled workers could decrease the nation's global competitiveness and result in a lack of expertise in mission-critical areas.
Inspiration, discovery, and innovation are the hallmarks of the Navy's Research Enterprise. Maintaining a technological edge requires a dynamic portfolio of scientific research and technology development, a culture of innovation, and the capacity to draw upon diverse ideas and approaches. Tomorrow's scientists and engineers will be at the heart of this innovation process. Without a steady stream of civilian and enlisted scientists and engineers, the Navy's ability to maintain its Science and Technology superiority will falter over time. Consequently, increasing the STEM pipeline has become a critical priority for the Navy so that we are capable of tackling the challenges of the future.
By offering a broad range of STEM education and outreach programs, the Navy seeks to address the national crisis of decreasing college enrollments and careers in science and engineering. Through programs like SeaPerch and the STEM2Stern Program, the goal is to engage and inspire young people by exposing them to exciting, hands-on, and mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, while at the same time fostering self-confidence and life skills.