Researchers & Policy Makers
The Reach Center is one of many resources for students in Maine, and works to connect with others and contribute to the body of research as much as possible. Key STEM research and policy bodies in Maine include the Maine STEM Collaborative, the Maine Governor’s STEM Council, Maine EPSCoR, and government departments.
The state of Maine has significant resources devoted to educational programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The state’s abundant natural resources and access to solar and off-shore energy, ocean resources, and biofuels have spurred the development of a number of projects and institutes to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics research and education. The Maine Office of Innovation has identified seven STEM occupational clusters within the Maine economy that hold great promise for development and jobs of the future. These clusters are biotechnology, composites, environmental technology, forest products and agriculture, information technology, marine technology, and precision manufacturing.
It is estimated that in the next decade one in seven new Maine jobs will be in STEM-related areas, and these jobs will produce wages that are 58 percent higher than wages for other occupations in Maine. Across the state a number of institutes and programs have been funded and developed to enhance research, development, and education in STEM areas. Those involved in workforce development and planning for the future are concerned about the ability of Maine students to assume these jobs of the future. In subjects that are essential to STEM careers, such as science and mathematics, Maine students show a decrease in their mastery and course taking from middle school through high school. In 2009, only 53 percent of Maine 8th grade students met the standard in mathematics, which may account for the high mathematics remediation rate of well over 50 percent for incoming university and community college freshmen.
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*Part of this introduction was adapted from Briefing Paper on STEM Education Policy in Maine, Nancy Richardson, Barbara Brauner Berns, and Lisa Marco, Education Development Center (EDC), November 29, 2010, commissioned by the Maine STEM Collaborative, the Maine Department of Education and the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance.