The United States currently does not have enough highly-qualified graduates to keep pace with the exponentially rising demand for jobs in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM. Without the trained workforce to fill these jobs, the country risks falling behind in key areas and losing ground in the global power competition.
Battelle, an independent, non-profit research and development organization, aims to change that narrative. Lou Von Thaer, CEO and president of Battelle, spoke about the scope of the STEM graduate shortage — and the broader talent shortages across the government contracting ecosystem — in a video interview with Executive Mosaic.
“If I look across our portfolio today, including the national laboratories we manage, we are probably 3,500 to 4,000 engineers and scientists short that we have job openings for today,” the 2023 Wash100 Award winner said in conversation with Executive Mosaic’s Summer Myatt.
“I do think we have a fundamental problem in this country that we’re just not educating kids in these STEM subjects fast enough at the high enough volume,” he added.
To remedy this lack of education, Battelle has been prioritizing giving back to its community through STEM. In 2022, Battelle raised $27 million — a new high — for building STEM programs across the country. Just five years ago, Battelle’s STEM outreach impacted 100,000 students per year; last year, the organization surpassed its goal and reached 1.4 million students.
Battelle has also been running the first early college STEM school in Ohio, the Metro School, for 16 years thus far, and the non-profit now has plans to build a new, similar facility. Battelle raised $30 million and is breaking ground on a new STEM school that is set to open in 2024.
Learn more about Battelle’s STEM outreach and how Lou Von Thaer is updating the traditional R&D model by watching the full video interview here.