November 23, 2014
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New Survey Showing Teens Losing Interest in STEM Careers While U.S. Projects Significant Growth in Field
By jaofri

Providence, RI – Junior Achievement USA® (JA) and the ING U.S. Foundation’s 2013 Teens & Careers survey reveals a substantial year-over-year decline in teens’ interest in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and medical-related fields. This is the 12th year the survey has been conducted.

While almost half (46 percent) of all teens surveyed showed interest in pursuing either a STEM or medical-related job, there was a 15 percent decrease from last year’s data. Despite interest declining, the United States Department of Labor predicts employment opportunities in STEM careers will increase by 17 percent through 2018.

“It is crucial that we reinvigorate teens about pursuing opportunities in STEM and medical-related careers,” said Lee Lewis, president of Junior Achievement of Rhode Island. “These fields drive our economy and innovation; they are not only high-growth career paths but also creative outlets where teens can apply their passions.”

The survey highlighted ‘passion’ and ‘area of interest’ as the number one factor guiding teens’ career choices. In order to spark interest among teens and build momentum for these growing fields, teens need assistance. They need mentors and programs that will help guide them through these major life decisions.

“It’s our role as parents, mentors, and advisors to work together to educate students about the many academic and career options they have in life,” said Rhonda Mims, president of the ING U.S. Foundation and senior vice president, ING U.S.’s Office of Corporate Responsibility. “Often, students don’t realize that the classes they take today can significantly shape the careers they build tomorrow—and possibly—their long-term financial security. With an emphasis on mentoring and practical skills-building, Junior Achievement’s financial literacy and work readiness programs can play an important role in setting students on a solid career path to future success.” During the last school year, Junior Achievement of Rhode Island reached 10,339 students in grades K through 12.

Junior Achievement offers volunteer-led programs for students in kindergarten through high school to provide them with hands-on learning experiences and invaluable role models. Junior Achievement volunteers share professional experiences with students, adding a real-world dimension to the programs. Its newest program, JA Career Success™, helps students identify their desired careers and better understand how to develop the skills necessary to achieve success. As part of the curriculum, students learn how to effectively conduct a job search, how best to respond to common interview questions and how positively building their personal brand can translate to a rewarding career.

Other key findings from the survey include:

• Eighty-three percent of teens are confident they will land their “dream” job at some point in their career but only five percent are pursuing an internship in their area of interest

• Twenty-eight percent of teens are financially contributing in preparation of paying for college; this is 24 percent less than last year

• Both the 2012 and 2013 studies indicated that teens’ parents or guardians are the primary financial contributors for continuing education and training

• 38 percent of teens said that the status of the economy has not affected their career plans; they feel comfortable with the economy because they can rely on parents and caregivers in terms of their futures

An executive summary of the 2013 Junior Achievement USA Teens & Career Survey is available at http://jarhodeisland.org/teens-and-careers.html.

Methodology

This report presents the findings of a study conducted Feb. 5-15, 2013, using the KnowledgePanel to interview 1,025 teens ages 14-18 years old. The survey’s margin of error is +/- 3 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

About Junior Achievement of Rhode Island (JA)

Junior Achievement is the state's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. JA programs are delivered by corporate and community volunteers and provide relevant, hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, workforce readiness and entrepreneurship. Today, JA reaches more than 7 percent of the Rhode Island student population per year in more than 26 communities across Rhode Island. For more information, visit our website at http://jarhodeisland.org, connect with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/juniorachievementri, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/JARhodeIsland.

About ING U.S.

ING U.S. (NYSE: VOYA), which plans to rebrand in the future as Voya Financial, is a premier retirement, investment and insurance company serving the financial needs of approximately 13 million individual and institutional customers in the United States. The company's vision is to be America's Retirement Company and its guiding principle is centered on solving the most daunting financial challenge facing Americans today - retirement readiness. Working directly with clients and through a broad group of financial intermediaries, independent producers, affiliated advisors and dedicated sales specialists, ING U.S. provides a comprehensive portfolio of asset accumulation, asset protection and asset distribution products and services. With a dedicated workforce of approximately 7,000 employees, ING U.S. is grounded in a clear mission to make a secure financial future possible - one person, one family and one institution at a time. For more information, visit http://ing.us.

About the ING U.S. Foundation

The ING U.S. Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life in communities where ING U.S. operates and its employees and customers live. Through charitable giving and employee volunteerism, the foundation focuses on programs in the areas of financial literacy, children’s education, diversity and environmental sustainability. For more information, visit www.ing-usafoundation.com.


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