Newly introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate — the Startup Act 2.0 — could help Arkansas overcome its deficiencies in the STEM disciplines.
The state has a lot going for it right now — really, much forward momentum — in terms of its environment for small business and startups.
But its relatively small population magnifies deficiencies in the STEM subject areas, deficiencies not exclusive to Arkansas by any means. The entire country is lagging. Could this bill represent a way to bridge the STEM gap?
The Washington Post looks at the bipartisan Startup Act 2.0, which would offer a new kind of visa to “foreign students who obtain graduate degrees in science- and math-related fields from American universities, and another that offers permanent residence to immigrants who start successful companies and create jobs in the United States.”
Here’s an excerpt:
The United States is currently falling behind in that battle, according to research published the same day by The Partnership for a New American Economy and Partnership for New York City, which shows a widening gap between the supply and demand of American graduates educated in the so-called STEM fields of science, technology engineering and mathematics.
Right now, the number of job openings requiring such degrees is increasing at three times the rate of the rest of the job market; however, college students majoring in non-STEM fields still outnumber their math- and science-minded counterparts 5-to-1, according to the National Science Foundation. Moreover, the growth rate of new STEM majors remains among the slowest of any category.
Should the trend continue without intervention, American businesses would be looking for an estimated 800,000 workers with advanced STEM degrees in 2018 but only find 550,000 American graduates with that type of training.
But that’s where easing restrictions on immigrants can help, according to the researchers behind the report, who point to studies showing that 60 percent of foreign graduate students in the United States were enrolled in science and engineering in 2010. In addition, a study earlier this year showed that half of the nation’s top venture-backed companies have at least one immigrant founder, and three out of four claim at least one foreign-born executive.
Speaking of STEM, here’s a recent post about the work of the STEM Academy at UAPB. The state certainly recognizes the need for more STEM-trained students. It’s a focus of Gov. Mike Beebe, one he mentions at almost every speaking engagement.
And then there were the efforts last year of Arkansas’ senior U.S. Senator Mark Pryor, who introduced his own legislation aimed at helping startups.
New engineers at BlueInGreen
IA client BlueInGreen has hired two new engineers, Darryl Fendley and Joshua Crittenden.
BlueInGreen is an “environmental technology company that develops solutions for commercial application in the water and wastewater industry.”
These guys, both local, bring impressive credentials. Read more about them at BlueInGreen.com.
Recognition for Lavish Longboards
Kudos to an Arkansas entrepreneur, NWAEA member Nick Jones, for his recognition on the Discovery Channel’s blog.