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STEM in Iowa at a glance

STEM jobs make up a large portion of high-demand jobs in Iowa through 2022.


Gov. Reynolds addresses computer science in Condition of the State address
Gov. Kim Reynolds talked about the importance of computer science education in her Condition of the State address, which kicked off the legislative session. Read her remarks:

 “Computer science has quickly moved from a narrow elective to a basic skill that every student needs. That’s something the people at Osage Community Schools understand and have embraced with a passion. 

“In addition to requiring computer science for students to graduate, they have dramatically increased learning opportunities for K-12 students to explore coding and design apps or find their passion in the world of technology. And, through an innovative partnership with NewBoCo in Cedar Rapids, Osage is training teachers to better integrate computer science in subjects like math, English and art.

“I want to recognize Osage and NewBoCo for their vision and congratulate the students for their success. You are a model for our state and the nation. … What Osage is doing is amazing, and we need more of it.

“Currently, almost two-thirds of school districts teach computer science in middle and high school. And about half teach it in elementary school. We need that to be 100 percent—which is why I’m calling on the Legislature to take computer science statewide and ensure every student, at every level, has access to this new basic skill.”

Employers still perceive a skills gap
Iowa Workforce Development’s 2018 survey of employers across the state asked about a variety of skills, including basic skills in math and reading; hard, or technical, skills; and soft skills, which are sometimes referred to as employability skills. Motivation, dependability, communications and critical/analytical thinking skills are among the biggest shortcomings identified. Here is the percentage of employers who feel applicants are lacking a certain skill. 

Written Communication, 24.8%

Applied Mathematics, 17.1%

Reading for Information, 15.2%

Locating Information, 12.4%

Critical/Analytical Thinking, 33.1%

Business Communication, 19.2%

Machine Operation, 14.7%

Project Management, 13.1%

Basic Computer Literacy, 11.8%

Computer Software, 11.6%

General Office Software, 9.7%

Motivation, 49.3%

Dependability, 45.2%

Time Management, 35.5%

Communication Skills, 35.2%

Teamwork, 20.7%

Leadership, 18.8%

Honesty, 14.9%

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