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Fran Stewart dives into the murky waters where education and economic goals meet to confront several key issues facing policymakers and educators, including the role of public investment in human capital, the types of human capital investment that provide the greatest public return, and whether those investments should vary by region.

She shows that not all high-paying jobs require STEM skills; that not all good-paying, highly skilled STEM jobs require college degrees; and that "soft skills" are important for STEM as well as other high-paying jobs.


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  1. More STEM Degrees: Economic Best Bets for Regions?
  2. Misunderstandings and Misapplications
  3. A Method for Bundling Occupational Skills
  4. STEM Skills, Soft Skills, and Worker Wages
  5. The Intersection of Skill Demand and Regional Well-Being
  6. A Test of Size, Schooling, and Context
  7. A Different View of the Middle
  8. Cross-Cutting Skills
  9. Concluding Thoughts and Policy Implications


9780880996402 (cloth) ; 9780880996396 (pbk.) ; 9780880996419 (ebook)

Subject Areas

EDUCATION; Postsecondary education; WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT; Job skills and standards

The STEM Dilemma: Skills that Matter to Regions




Stewart, Fran. 2017. The STEM Dilemma: Skills that Matter to Regions. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.