The nation faces a shortage of skilled technical professionals in occupations that require a high level of knowledge and skills in advanced technical fields, but may not require baccalaureate degrees. According to the National Research Council, the mathematical sciences are part of most every aspect of everyday life; and even in old-line industries, the role of the mathematical sciences has expanded. While specific mathematical competencies vary with the demands of different occupations and professions, the need for such competencies in the skilled technical workforce is without question. This conference will explore what mathematics is needed and the steps the STEM education enterprise should take to ensure students can successfully develop the requisite mathematical competency and fluency.
With regards to intellectual merit, the "Needed Math: Advanced Technological Education Conference" will bring together three groups of thought-leaders to establish and propose a set of common mathematics concepts and skills that are pre-requisites for education and employment of technicians in STEM-related careers in biotechnology, information/communication technology, and advanced manufacturing. Conference attendees will represent three communities that have a stake in needed mathematics: math educators and researchers; community college faculty; and STEM employers. The charge to attendees of the conference is to (1) characterize specific mathematics skills that employers in those domains look for; (2) identify the unifying math concepts that underlie those skills; (3) propose needed action to take to teach those concepts effectively to students in grades 7-14; (4) synthesize recommendations and results in an edited set of Conference proceedings; and (5) disseminate conference deliverables to a wide audience in a variety of veues and in a variety of formats. In terms of broader impacts, the conference intends to provide guidance to groups of stakeholders with regards to the teaching and learning of mathematics in support of developing and sustaining a diverse workforce of skilled technical professionals.
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