Posted October 06, 2016 by

Preparing for a career in the STEM Industries

Guest writer Luciana Amaro, Vice President Talent Development & Strategy, BASF

1272644The workforce in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, is crucial to America’s innovative capacity and global competitiveness. Today’s STEM graduates have more career opportunities available now than at any other time in U.S. history. This three-part series from BASF, the world’s leading chemical company, will examine ways that college students and new graduates can establish a strong foundation that equips them to join the next generation of scientists and engineers.

STEM disciplines have increasingly experienced talent shortages over the years. Recent data show that for every 1.9 available STEM jobs, there is only one qualified STEM professional available for hire. The resulting impact on the global economy is striking, given how many industries are part of the STEM supply chain. In fact, according to a recent report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), by 2018, there could be 2.4 million unfilled STEM jobs.

If you are considering a career in any of the STEM disciplines, do you know which education path will best prepare you? There are many programs at four-year universities, two-year colleges, community colleges, junior colleges and vocational-technical colleges. With so many choices, it might be overwhelming to determine what’s right for you, but the good news is that you can establish a strong foundation for success through many different ways.

Build a strong foundation

While we always appreciate an advanced degree, at BASF we also seek candidates who have non-traditional backgrounds that offer a transferable, yet distinct, set of skills and abilities, such as active or former military personnel. We believe hiring diverse employees results in an engaged, high-performing workforce that drives long-term success. If you are pursuing a technical career, junior colleges and certificate programs can provide you with the trade skills many companies require.

Expand your network

There are many collaborative educational partnerships that exist between businesses and schools today. See if your school offers education tracks or career fairs to set you up with connections following graduation. Most STEM related companies interview and hire students before they graduate, working closely with colleges to get a jump on the competition.

Some companies, including BASF, recruit high-potential candidates through internship programs. Internships are a great way to build first-hand experience, gain practical insights into a particular company and larger industry, and help you apply the skills you learned in school. While possessing strong science and math skills might seem obvious, young professionals in the STEM fields also need well-developed interpersonal skills, as well as presentation, public speaking, organizational skills and great attention to detail.

After college, what’s next? For advice on the myriad career opportunities in STEM available to new graduates today, check back next Thursday to read “Exploring STEM Career Opportunities for Young Professionals.”

luciana-amaroLuciana Amaro is a Vice President in BASF Corporation’s Human Resources department, leading the Talent Development and Strategy unit.  In her current role, which she assumed on August 1, 2014, she is responsible for North American talent management, leadership development, staffing and university relations, workforce planning, learning and development, organizational development and change management.

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