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Where Are All the Science Majors?

Benedictine University student researchers

Natural Science Summer Student Researchers 2009

Credit: Benedictine University

In a move to measure its workforce, Nationwide Insurance surveyed its 36,000 employees. Its CEO was in for a shock. The single largest employment category had nothing to do with insurance and was instead "technology." The story dramatizes the transformation of the U.S. workforce. At Nationwide, an entire upper tier of computer scientists had to be brought in from India because the company didn't have enough in Ohio.

Nationwide isn't alone. The number of computer science degrees awarded to U.S. citizens from 2004 to 2007 (the latest figures available) declined 27%, according to the National Science Board. But the shortfall isn't just in computer science. Neither universities nor high schools are preparing enough U.S. students in so-called STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering, and math. While observers blame different causes, few deny a crisis exists.

More than half of those with bachelor of science degrees still enter careers having nothing to do with science. Even among students who begin college pursuing a STEM degree, only half wind up with one.

From Fortune
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