There is certainly no question that STEM education and STEM skills are a vital part of this country’s edge, but many educators would argue that STEM is missing a key set of creativity-related components that are equally critical to fostering a competitive and innovative workforce, and those skills are summarized under the letter “A” for Arts.
Two years ago, the Conference Board and Americans for the Arts, in association with the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), conducted a survey of executives and school superintendents. The study, called Ready to Innovate, demonstrated that more and more companies are looking for skill sets in their new employees that are much more arts/creativity-related than science/math-related. Companies want workers who can brainstorm, problem-solve, collaborate creatively and contribute/communicate new ideas.
And, interestingly, the study shows that managers are finding a dearth of creative workers trained in these “A” skills. So why is this not part of the overall national debate?
STEM should be amended to STEAM, an idea that has been kicking around with many people in the creative industries for a few years now, and became a key discussion point of the Americans for the Arts 2007 National Policy Roundtable where the Ready to Innovate study was first unveiled."