Letter: Preparing Students for a 21st Century Global Economy

Staff Writer
The Destin Log

As students head back to school this month, I’m reminded that a quality education is quickly becoming the new economic development currency. Florida’s students no longer compete with students from other states, they’re competing with students from other countries.

While Florida has seen successful education reforms, more is needed to ensure students are prepared for global competition.

In 2013, 34 of the top 50 U.S. jobs were STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) related. Yet only one-third of bachelor’s degrees earned in the U.S. are in STEM fields, compared to 53 percent in China and 63 percent in Japan. Currently, there are more than 60,000 unfilled STEM jobs in Florida – our state faces a shortage of workers with STEM degrees or certifications.

Improving education for a better workforce is a priority of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. They continue advocating for STEM education – promoting policies that encourage greater interest in STEM-related careers at an early age.

A highly-educated workforce drives future private-sector job growth. Florida wins when we fight for what’s best for our students. A quality education and workforce development system is the best way to enable all Floridians to compete in a 21st century global economy. Kevin Bowyer, CPA.CITP, CISA Warren Averett