STEM education pays off for economy, Bloom tells financial execs

STEM is the driver behind most of business and industry today, Joel Bloom says.

“The future of business, today, is accelerated by knowledge of technology,” the president of Newark’s New Jersey Institute of Technology told a room of around 30 financial executives at a recent Financial Executives International meeting at the Manor in West Orange.

The meeting focused on the impact of higher education in the state, and Bloom’s keynote highlighted the benefits of fields tied to science, technology, engineering and math, specifically.

“Every time you create a STEM professional, you are now adding to the labor force by a factor of 4.3 individuals,” Bloom said. “Engineers and computer scientists create jobs. Every single job that’s created in those industries creates four more related professionals.”

Bloom said technology-related fields, the jobs they create and the employees that work in them are essential to driving the economy.

“Science, technology and higher education drive our GDP,” he said. “The baccalaureates are leaving (NJIT) with three or four job offers in their hand.”

Bloom said New Jersey is No. 4 in the country for having the most scientists and engineers per square mile, yet the supply of these workers is not meeting the demand. And, while it’s a more expensive form of education — $15,000 on average to educate a student in social sciences versus $30,000 for engineers — the starting salaries for these positions and return to the economy supersede those costs, Bloom said.

Bloom has had a 28-year-long career at NJIT, serving in a variety of different positions including vice president, dean of the Albert Dorman Honors College and has served as president of the college since 2011.

Much of the work he has done at NJIT since taking over as president has been geared toward growing STEM enrollment — the better to meet the demand for these students.

Founded in 1931 and headquartered in Morristown, FEI is a network of over 10,000 business financial professionals with over 65 chapters across the country. The organization holds webinars, conferences, leadership/professional development events and dinner meetings.

NJIT is a public polytechnic research university founded in 1881 and located in Newark. As of fall 2018, it has about 11,400 undergraduate and graduate students.