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What is STEM, and how can it boost your career?

Expert engineers examining computer equipment.

What exactly is “STEM,” anyway?

Increasingly, companies like ours are seeking employees with education in the “STEM disciplines.” But what exactly does that mean, and what kind of opportunities can it afford you?

STEM isn’t just for scientists

Officially, STEM is an abbreviation for science, technology, engineering, and math. But make no mistake – these disciplines aren’t just for scientists.

There is a common misperception that STEM education only enables you to pursue traditional science-based careers. Most people believe their only options are working at a lab bench or in front of a computer – as lab technicians, chemists, physicists, or statisticians. But strong education and experience in STEM can take you almost anywhere.

At 3M, most of our STEM-educated workforce is directly “in the field” with our customers. They work side by side, inside their operation to help brainstorm improvements or troubleshoot issues. This could be helping car graphics installers do their designs justice, helping engineers bring a new product to life, or helping to establish a safety protocol to get workers home safely from their jobs each day.

Scientists in lab

Our partners at Let’s Talk Science also work tirelessly to show students how diverse a career in a STEM field can be. They believe STEM disciplines can take you almost anywhere – from the skate park, to the kitchen, to the couch.

STEM education provides employable skills

The skillsets derived from STEM education create a foundation of key employable skills. STEM disciplines help students to be:

  • detail oriented
  • problem solvers
  • strong communicators
  • organized
  • leaders
  • forward thinkers

When you look at it this way, it’s easy to see why industry leaders want STEM trained professionals at the table to help strategize for success.

STEM education

Why we must invest in STEM education, now

At 3M, we are proud of our well-rounded workforce and we work hard to attract a variety of candidates with diverse backgrounds. Our multi-disciplinary approach gives us broader perspectives, and greater ingenuity – a must when tackling some of our customers’ toughest challenges.

But like many other companies, we are seeing that there is a decline in STEM talent.

By investing in initiatives like Canada 2067 and FIRST® Robotics, we hope to incite curiosity amongst Canada’s youth, and show them that their STEM futures are within reach.

Support STEM opportunities. Join the conversation

Do you share our passion for investing in STEM education? Join the conversation. Follow #Can2067 on Facebook and Twitter.


About the Author

[enBio=As one of 3M Canada's employment brand ambassadors, Rebecca travels across the country in search of the next great 3M'ers. Each year, 3M Canada receives more than 18,000 resumes, many from individuals within areas of science, engineering, technology, and math. Rebecca is a vocal champion for workplace diversity and inclusion, and is actively engaged with London Middlesex Immigrant Employment Centre (LMIEC) Governance Council and the Conference Board of Canada’s Council on Inclusive Work Environments.],[enJob=Talent Acquisition & Inclusion, 3M Canada],[frBio=En tant que l’une des ambassadrices de l’image de marque d’employeur de 3M canada, Rebecca parcourt le pays à la recherche des prochains employés exceptionnels de 3M. Chaque année, 3M Canada reçoit plus de 18 000 c.v., dont nombre d’entre eux proviennent de personnes qui ont étudié dans les domaines des sciences, des technologies, de l’ingénierie et des mathématiques. Rebecca défend haut et fort la diversité et l’inclusion en milieu de travail et elle est engagée activement auprès du Governance Council of London Middlesex Immigrant Employment centre et du Council on Inclusive Work Environments du Conference Board of Canada.],[frJob=Acquisition de talents et inclusion, Compagnie 3M Canada]

Profile Photo of Rebecca Kapogiannis