A new report is giving Virginia high praise when it comes to innovation, calling the Commonwealth the best state in the nation for STEM jobs.
Every year, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce puts out an “Enterprising States Report” which takes a look at what states are best positioned to grow, create jobs, and prosper over the next five to ten years.
Virginia was ranked 5th overall by the report. The Chamber highlighted the Commonwealth’s embracing of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) industries as a major reason why it finished so high.
The report ranks each state based on five categories: exports and international trade, entrepreneurship and innovation, business climate, talent pipeline, and infrastructure.
Virginia received its highest marks in the entrepreneurship and innovation category, coming in third. The report calls Virginia “the best state in the nation for STEM jobs”, pointing out that it has highest concentration of STEM jobs and the highest share of businesses in the high tech industry in the country. It also ranks second nationally for STEM job growth.
In recent years, state leaders have made a big push for STEM education in our schools. STEM academies like the one at the Burton Center for Arts and Technology in Salem are popping up all over the state and are exposing students to these fields early. Experts say that in turn helps fuel the industry’s growth.
“There are a lot of opportunities out there in STEM fields,” said Jason Suhr, Director of the Barton Center for Arts and Technology. “The industry has said over and over, there’s a dire need in some of these areas. And I think students will be able to progress into those rather naturally from our programs.”
Virginia also did well in the talent pipeline category, coming in 5th. The state’s worst grade came in the exports and international trade category where it ranked 46th.
To view the full report, click on the link below: