In an increasingly competitive global environment, it is critical that the U.S. strengthen its standing in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education to stay ahead of other countries, like China and Singapore, in order to continue create more high-wage research and development (R&D) and advanced manufacturing jobs in the U.S. and sustain and grow the economic contributions of R&D-intensive industries like the innovative biopharmaceutical sector. The U.S. biopharmaceutical sector is the envy of the world supporting a total of nearly 4.5 million jobs across the economy, and contributing $1.2 trillion in economic output when direct and indirect effects are considered in the U.S. alone.
The U.S. currently faces a growing gap in STEM skills compared to countries such as Japan, China, and parts of Europe, which are making substantial public investments in STEM education and other key areas of competitiveness, including growing their R&D, manufacturing, and other infrastructure investments. As an industry rooted in science and innovation, the biopharmaceutical industry is particularly concerned about the current shortage of highly-skilled workers in the U.S., a gap that is expected to grow substantially over the next decade leading individual biopharmaceutical companies to deepen their commitment to improving the state of STEM education at all levels in the U.S.
Enhancing Today’s STEM Workforce to Ensure Tomorrow’s New Medicines, reveals how innovative biopharmaceutical companies and their foundations are partnering with colleges and universities to foster the next generation of STEM workers. According to the report, biopharmaceutical companies and their foundations have partnered with 53 individual colleges and universities in support of 75 educational programs emphasizing hands-on, experiential learning through a focus on industry-relevant curricula. These partnerships are happening at all levels of the postsecondary pipeline from various certification and associate’s programs though master’s and doctoral programs and worker training programs.
STEM: Building a 21st Century Workforce to Develop Tomorrow’s New Medicines, highlights the significant financial and in-kind contributions of the biopharmaceutical industry to STEM education through a broad range of local, state and national initiatives at the K-12 level and beyond. The report found that over the course of just five years, two dozen PhRMA-member companies supported more than 90 individual initiatives, reaching over 1.6 million students and 17,500 teachers across the U.S.
Continued scientific and technological innovations are critical to fostering sustained economic growth, global competitiveness, and most importantly, helping patients live longer, healthier, and more productive lives.