IBJOpinion

ROOB: Math proficiency a must for work force

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The recent slump in the domestic auto industry reminds us of the importance of innovation and creating something that will be attractive to the consumer tomorrow. Companies that don’t foresee and adapt to the changing needs of their consumers ultimately fail.

It’s with that same attitude that Indiana needs to look at its work force. We need to take a careful look at how we are preparing the students of today to be tomorrow’s workers.

Students need to take only two years of mathematics to graduate from high school in Indiana. Unfortunately, those requirements won’t get them into many of the state’s public or private universities or adequately prepare them for high-technology life sciences and manufacturing jobs. Some suggest changing high school graduation requirements to include either the passage of calculus or hamburger-flipping class to ensure our next generation has marketable skills. Without question, as young Hoosiers prepare to be valuable members of tomorrow’s work force, math matters most.

Proficient math skills are a must for Indiana’s existing manufacturing industry and growing life sciences sector. Indiana has become a hub for not only life sciences research and discovery, but also manufacturing: Hoosier companies like Zimmer Inc., Biomet and the Cook Group dominate the medical-device market, while Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co., Illinois-based Baxter International Inc. and others are major producers of lifesaving medicines.

How can we maintain this advantage in “bio-manufacturing” and add even more of these jobs? The life sciences and manufacturing industries share a common need—a skilled work force with proficiency in math.

Indiana’s manufacturing landscape is no longer dominated by the assembly line and use of simple tools, but is high-tech and ever-changing. More than 500,000 Hoosiers are employed in advanced manufacturing jobs, according to Conexus Indiana. These jobs demand the mastery of new techniques and processes. As the air gun, drill press and blowtorch give way to the computer-numerical-controlled lathe, robotic welder and microscope, increased programming and technical knowledge will become necessary.

Unfortunately, Indiana’s current educational pipeline isn’t sufficiently preparing Hoosiers for high-tech careers. One of every four students failed the math Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress test in 2008, while a third of all 10th-graders failed the Graduation Qualifying Exam’s math standard. These struggles in math persist in higher education and surely contribute to our poor educational attainment overall: Only 7 percent of Indiana’s young workers have earned an associate’s degree, and we rank 44th in the percentage of college graduates in our adult work force.

It’s clear Indiana must take action today to stay competitive in tomorrow’s economy. Fortunately, several such efforts are under way to combat the negative trends:

• The BioCrossroads life sciences initiative has led to the creation of the I-STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Network, a resource for K-12 teachers that unites higher education institutions with private and philanthropic partners to offer curriculum ideas and professional development opportunities for educators.

• As I-STEM seeks to improve the quality of education at the K-12 level, the “Dream It. Do It.” campaign from Conexus Indiana is creating post-high-school opportunities to prepare young people for manufacturing careers in growing fields like the life sciences.

These efforts now have a valuable ally in Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett, who has an ambitious agenda to improve graduation rates and make Indiana’s academic achievement and career preparation among the best in the country.

Focusing on mathematics education must be the cornerstone to those efforts. A dedication to higher standards for Hoosier students is imperative and, more than ever, this starts in math class. When we combine our heritage of manufacturing excellence with a commitment to the academic requirements of tomorrow’s careers, we have a formula for success that keeps Indiana on the cutting edge of the future economy.•

__________

Roob is Indiana’s secretary of commerce and CEO of the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Good Day I am Mr (Victoria Wright) from United state of America, i stayed in NEW YORK, and i have a broke up business, until i found this company email who help me to gain a loan for business,, and now i want to used this short medium to congratulate the below company for the fast and safe money they loan to me without any form of collateral, i loan 500,000USD from the company to save my business and lots more, i saw their mail on the internet, everyone always give testimony for what they did, so i quickly contacted them and they all did everything for me without stress and my money was sent to my account just 3 days later, i was surprise and i feel so glad, now i have a standard business control agent who help me, now i will advice those who need urgent loan to contact him at the bellow email:zenithfirm12@gmail.com

  2. NOTICE:This is to inform the general public that Vampires are real. My name is James Franklyn.,am an agent of vampire,am here to introduce our new world trend to you,a world of vampire where life get easier,we have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich,you will be assured long life and prosperity,you shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness,stronger and also very fast,you will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk.In case you are wildly oppressed by some unscrupulous persons we can still help you fight them.Your protection is assured immediately you join.Just contact the bellow email if you are interested we are here to attend to you anytime you want us. Contact the bellow email for more details. Email:vampirescreed@hotmail.com Sincerely: James Franklyn.

  3. Bravo! Someone else that is willing to speak the truth! Bravo!_____NBCSN is available in almost 2 MILLION more homes than just a few years ago, but Indycar STILL gets less total viewers than it did just a few years ago when NBC took over Versus. Attendance and ratings cratered with the end of season races (just when the title battle got "interesting" HAH!__________And now...new race in Basilia, where Miles celebrated the "rich history" of Indycar racing there. Rich history? What, 7 events in the 100 years of AOW? Yep, some history. Well, at least its an oval. It's not??? Are you kidding me??? Gosh darn road racin furriners.

  4. PURITY RAY LOAN OFFER........ Have you been denied by your banks,or are you in need of of an urgent loan to pay of your bills we are capable of giving loans @ cheaper rate to interested individuals, student, companies and members of the public in need of finance to settle bills, we do offer considerable loans which you can count on. For more information on our various types of loan,then you will have to contact PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM, to help you achieve your desire LOAN APPLICATION FORM TO BE FILLED BORROWERS INFORMATION * Full name:………………………. * SEX * ……………………………. * Country………………………….. * State:……………………………. * Land:…………………………….. * Occupation:…………………….. * phone number:…………………. * Telephone: ………………………….. * Age:………………………………. * Amount needed as loan:……… * Loan Duration:………………….. * Propose of Loan:……………….. * Annual revenue:………………… * Monthly Income:……………….. * Guarantee:………………………. * Payment: monthly or annually Email.....purityrayloanfirm@gmail.com Thank you and God bless Mr Purity Ray PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM we tend to serve you better

  5. Problem: most of the people responding to this article don't know about this service AT ALL! Why? Lack of awareness. This isn't IndyGo. This is CIRTA: might as well be the mattress company because they are asleep at the wheel - something like 3 directors over the last year? Playing with federal grant money is great! This "region" wants commuter rail service, has spent MILLIONS on Transportation studies yet can't even support a commuter bus line? This is largely for suburban riders to get to downtown - not for "service people to work in our hotels and restaurants" ! Get your head out of your backside!! These are professionals, students etc. that don't want to fight traffic, save some money on parking, gas, stress.... if CIRTA would put their federal money into widely promoting the sevive to Greenwood, Fishers & Carmel instead of finding directors and studies - this would be a successful service. Our family uses(d) it daily for the last several years - but the recent uncertainty & now unreliability due to cuts from Carmel has been a problem. Now, costs us an additional $350/month for gas & parking ( $4200/year) plus vehicle wear, service, environmental impact ... YES - this REGION needs this this type of service in order to keep growing and getting the people it needs to fill skilled positions in downtown Indianapolis. Think outside of your own car !!!

ADVERTISEMENT