The Baton Rouge area must increase the number of students enrolled in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, as well as effective teachers and leaders if the region is to take full advantage of the coming economic boom, according to a strategic plan from the Baton Rouge Area Chamber.

"Taking Advantage of the Boom: A Strategic Plan for Cultivating a STEM Workforce in the Capital Region" lays out a plan for the nine-parish area to collaborate on increasing the STEM-skilled workforce. The strategy includes getting more business and community involvement. The petrochemical, health care, and digital media industries, among others, need workers with advanced knowledge and skills in the STEM disciplines, and those industries are creating jobs at a faster rate than non-STEM sectors.

“The coming economic boom holds the promise of thousands of new well-paying jobs for communities around the region. However, in order for the Capital Region to be a place where the supply of STEM-skilled workers can meet the demand, a collaborative and concentrated effort must take place to prepare students for their future careers,” said Adam Knapp, president and chief executive officer of the chamber.

Doing so will require primary, secondary andpostsecondary educators and administrators, students, parents, business leaders, and economic development professionals to work together.

STEM education does not solely involve competency in science, technology, engineering, and math, according to the chamber, but the ability to apply those skills to solve complex problems through innovative methods.