What is STEM? STEM is a thriving field that stands for science, technology, engineering and math. Numerous schools are expanding their STEM programs because there is an overall emphasis in the field. Many companies are looking for individuals with skills in STEM, but often are not able to find qualified employees who are able to participate in a field like STEM. Because of this, our nation’s industries are looking for ways to properly prepare students to be in a STEM profession. You, as a parent, can help spark your child's STEM interest. This handbook will help you navigate the steps needed to prepare your child for a STEM career including college and their first internship. Job Opportunities Why is there such a shortage of employees with STEM skills? Many young students do not want to take science and math classes and do not continue to take them in college. A lot of young students may not have the opportunity to experience these fields, and thus see them as too difficult or unattainable. Because of this problem, educators, employers and government officials are pushing to get students of all ages into the STEM field. STEM jobs are estimated to grow twice as fast as other jobs, and STEM careers are among the highest paying in the nation. College STEM graduates make approximately four times more over their lifetimes than students who study non-STEM subjects. Idaho National Laboratory provides many opportunities for students to job shadow or receive internships. A useful resource to review is INL’s STEM Help Wanted booklet and video located at inl.gov/k-12 . How Can You Help? As a parent, you can introduce your child to STEM no matter your educational background. This guide will address many ways to do so, including taking a nature field trip, cooking, reading a biography of female scientists; provide advice on picking the right high school and classes for your child; and discuss how to prepare them for college. The most effective way to help your child get interested in STEM is to make it fun and connect STEM to the real world. 3