Florida’s science and engineering workforce lags behind the nation

Florida’s science and engineering workforce is smaller than those of most states when measured as a percentage of the state’s total workforce, according to the National Science Foundation.

Of all those employed in Florida in 2017, 3.49% were employed in science and engineering occupations.  This is lower than the national rate of 4.83% and ranks Florida 39th among the 50 states plus DC.

The National Science Foundation includes engineers and scientists in the computer, mathematical, life, physical and social science fields in their count.  They also include postsecondary teachers in these fields. Science and engineering managers, technicians, elementary and secondary schoolteachers, and medical personnel are not included.

Florida’s standing in the nation for the total science and engineering workforce and in each of the component fields are shown below.

The fields included in the Foundation’s count of science and engineering occupations are among the best paid and most economically robust, and the low number of individuals in these fields is a negative for Florida’s economy.

The relatively small role played by science and engineering in Florida’s economy might explain in part the lack of interest by policy-makers in improving the preparation of the state’s students for careers in these fields.  The state does a poor job of preparing K-12 students for college STEM majors.

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