Dallas in Top 20 of STEM Job Growth Index

Dallas found its way to the top 20 of an index designed to track STEM job growth — and experts say that will be very good for the local economy.

RCLCO, a real estate consulting firm, produced its yearly look at STEM job growth across the country, finding Dallas perched at No. 11

“The average STEM job in the United States has a wage of nearly $90,000, and that’s compared to an average wage of $40,000 for other industries,” said RCLCO vice president Karl Pischke. “Our research has also indicated that STEM jobs tend to be more resistant to economic shocks.”

Between 2005 and 2015, STEM employment grew by nearly 25% — more than five times the growth of non-STEM jobs in the same time period. 

Pischke pointed to U.S. Department of Labor statistics that project at least a million new STEM jobs in the 2020s — an 11% growth compared to 8% for non-STEM jobs.

 “Our research has also indicated that STEM jobs tend to be more resistant to economic shocks.”

Karl Pischke

And while part of the stability in STEM is its variability — there are a lot of different occupations and career paths that fall under the STEM umbrella — RCLCO’s analysis found that about half of all STEM jobs are computer-related, with the fastest-growing STEM jobs in the past five years coming in the computer user support, industrial engineering, information security, and civil engineering fields.

“Over the coming decade, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the strongest growth to concentrate in Computers & Mathematics, Architecture and Engineering, and Life, Physical & Social Science,” the firm’s report said. “However, it is important to note that these projections have also been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with Life, Physical, and Social Science jobs seeing a more significant bump in projected future job growth. This category includes jobs like medical scientists and epidemiologists, two professions that have received well-earned attention in light of their impacts during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Area schools are preparing students for STEM-ready career paths, including Dallas ISD. The district expanded its array of STEM learning opportunities to include their youngest scholars (a new biomedical elementary collaboration with UT Southwestern Medical School) and its oldest students, thanks to collegiate academies, specialized magnet schools, and its latest effort — career institutes that create opportunities for students to earn certifications for a variety of jobs.

The three locations offer training in STEM-related fields like aviation flight mechatronics, cybersecurity, electrical and solar technology, and health science occupations like patient care technician and pharmaceutical technician certifications.

Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa told reporters last year that the increased focus on demand jobs in growth fields would benefit the city. 

“I keep telling Mayor Johnson, to grow southern Dallas — when these kids get out, make a good living, and they can buy a house in Pleasant Grove, South Dallas, Oak Cliff, now they have disposable income, and they’re going to demand to a Starbucks, they’re going to demand a grocery store,” he said. “That’s how you build southern Dallas, and we’re going to get there.”

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at [email protected].

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