STEM Education: A Necessary Component for Modernizing Government

By Nancy Collins, group president, State Enterprise Solutions, Xerox

According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, in the next five years, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs are projected to grow twice as quickly as jobs in other fields. In fact, by 2018, the U.S. will have more than 1 million job openings in STEM-related sectors, but only 16 percent of U.S. bachelor’s degrees will specialize in STEM. At Xerox, we’ve supported STEM education for decades and advocated for students to consider careers in math and science because they are integral to our company – we develop technology to simplify the way work gets done. Our CEO, Ursula Burns, is an engineer with a passion for innovation and a champion of STEM. We see possibilities that can only happen if we continue to encourage young people with passion and aptitude for the sciences to pursue careers that use those skills.STEM Education: A Necessary Component for Modernizing Government

Scientists and engineers solve problems in unique and disruptive ways. Instead of creating a candle that burns longer or is less of a fire hazard, Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. Rather than embracing the time-intensive process of handwriting document copies, Xerox created the photo copier. It’s not about building a better mousetrap, but taking a whole new view on the challenge at hand.

I see opportunities to bring this same kind of disruptive thinking to government services, where new technologies can help to modernize processes, lower costs and bring better services to citizens. Many states are using IT infrastructure from the 1980s and 1990s. Not only are these older systems often incapable of keeping up with today’s intense IT demands, they can also be expensive to implement and maintain. Though there are limitless opportunities for governments to tap today’s technologies – like cloud, mobile and data analytics – they are challenged to modernize at an affordable price.

Innovation is an important part of Xerox’s heritage and its future. We’re finding ways to bring disruptive technology to governments while saving them significant amounts of money, so they can use their tight budgets to improve services for their citizens. For example, our electronic payment solutions digitize public benefit payments and use mobility to make a real difference to benefits recipients. A prepaid card solution for food stamps gives people easy, speedy and secure access to money that helps them feed their families.

Exposing students to STEM education early gives us the best chance to come up with more disruptive and life-improving technology. Xerox supports the efforts of organizations that strive to improve STEM education and encourage young people to enter scientific careers so they can benefit from and contribute to the countless possibilities that innovation brings. Xerox is sponsoring the 2013 STEMathon, a conference in Harrisburg, Penn., that brings together STEM education professionals to network, collaborate, learn, and share ideas in order to improve and enhance STEM education at the local level. This is one more measure toward even more robust STEM education in the U.S.

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  1. Rod Mattingly July 30, 2013 - Reply

    I am a Xerox retiree. Are there internships available for STEM college students? I have a number of grandchildren who will be in college soon. Thanks.

  2. Falynne Finagan, Xerox July 31, 2013 - Reply

    Hi Rod,
    Our student page on includes information about the internships we offer. Here’s the link: Thanks so much for your note. Enjoy your retirement and summer!

    Falynne Finagan
    Editor, Xerox Real Business Blog

  3. Judy Keen August 1, 2013 - Reply

    The recent President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report stated that over the next 10 years, 1 million students educated in the STEM disciplines are needed to maintain the US leadership in science and technology. This begs the question; how do we promote STEM education? In order to sustain our leadership in these fields, there must be a fundamental change in science education and approaches. Scientists in all STEM disciplines must be exposed to intensive and productive research experiences. They must also be educated in broader aspects of the field including communication, leadership, management, and business.

    Simply put, the culture must change.

    Companies like XEROX are part of the key to survival. Continued support from XEROX and other companies can help transform science and STEM education in our country and help maintain US dominance in the field.

    I am an owner of a science communications company. Productive partnerships between science communication, technology companies, and universities need to be forged to ensure success in the future. I applaud the efforts of XEROX and believe they and others need to continue to lend support.

  4. Jennifer Wasmer August 1, 2013 - Reply

    Hi Judy,

    Thank you so much for your kind note and encouragement. This is certainly a team effort. It’s great to know about your interest and involvement, too.

    Thanks again,

    Jennifer Wasmer
    PR Director, Xerox Services

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