CHARLESTON, W.Va. – According to a survey commissioned by TechConnect West Virginia, the West Virginia Department of Commerce found that 48,553 people worked in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related fields in the state in 2015. This represents 6.7 percent of the state’s total workforce and is above the national average of 6.2 percent.
Anne Barth, executive director of TechConnect West Virginia, said, “This first-of-its-kind survey shows that West Virginia has a solid innovation economy. This is critical, perception-busting data that showcases we have a substantial knowledge economy. This information provides direction on our strengths and weaknesses and establishes a baseline for measuring future growth.”
The survey found the following:
- West Virginia’s 48,553 STEM economy jobs support another 190,000 jobs in the state.
- The average STEM job hourly wage in West Virginia is $28.89 per hour.
- Another 56,600 workers are employed in healthcare/medical jobs in the state
- Another 2,420 workers are post-secondary teachers of STEM subjects.
“STEM jobs take many forms and are integrated into many, if not most, businesses,” Barth said. “The common denominator is that in all of these jobs, workers use knowledge of science, technology, engineering and/or math to complete the tasks and duties of their jobs.”
Key STEM innovation sectors in the state – and the number of workers they employ – include:
- Computer Science, Computer-Related, Information Security– 15,490
- Engineering – 15,481
- Chemistry – 5,822
- Other – Life Sciences, Math, Physics/Astronomy, Environmental Science, Geosciences – 7,010
- Accountants and Auditors – 4,750
Barth noted that while many of these jobs require a bachelor’s, graduate and/or post-graduate degree, others require less education, including one- and two-year degrees from community and technical colleges.
“It is important to not overlook the strong potential workforce of those with less than a four-year degree but substantial STEM skills,” Barth noted. “Sometimes called the ‘hidden STEM economy’, these jobs are also critical to driving economic growth.”
Barth said STEM jobs nationally drive the economy through innovation and increased competitiveness. “They generate new industries, new companies, and new job opportunities,” Barth offered. “They are highly desirable because they pay higher than average wages, are more recession-proof, and are among the fastest growing sector of jobs across the nation.”
“This data will help West Virginia as we continue to prepare for the jobs of the future, which will rely heavily on science, technology, engineering and math skills,” Barth said.
For more information, contact Anne Barth at (304) 444-2918 or visit the organization’s website at www.TechConnectWV.org.
About TechConnect West Virginia
TechConnect West Virginia focuses on advanced manufacturing and four core technology sectors: advanced energy, chemicals and advanced materials, biosciences, and biometrics. With broad representation from private industry, the public sector, and higher education, TechConnect seeks to diversify the state’s economy, promote economic prosperity and create high-paying jobs.