STEM Education Programs are Crucial to the Future of Manufacturing

STEM Solutions Summit 2012 What would Michael Dell be like if he were a college student today? Would he be armed with the same level of math and science skills necessary to develop the first Dell computer? Where would Dell be without the experts we have in our supply chain?

These are questions I often ask myself as I think about today’s youth and our future technology leaders. Providing students with access to a good education in science, technology, math and engineering (STEM) is more than just a topic for political debate; it’s crucial to not only Dell’s future, but the future of manufacturing.

As a sponsor of the U.S. News STEM Solutions Summit in Dallas this week, Dell is committed to the STEM education initiative. Without access to a good education in subjects crucial to attaining jobs in the manufacturing industry, our pool of candidates will gradually diminish. And not just Dell candidates. I’m speaking on behalf of the manufacturing industry, including the many manufacturing customers we support on a daily basis.

Educators, industry experts and policy makers are at this week’s summit to address this very issue and, as described on the event website, “work toward five outcomes to create an impact that will fill jobs now and advance the future STEM workforce.” These five outcomes relate to job creation, classroom innovation, national programs, partnerships and awareness. More information is available at

We’re proud to be a part of this initiative, not just as a sponsor but as an active participant in the discussion. Our own Jon Phillips with Dell Services joined representatives from Carnegie Learning, the National Center for Women & Information Technology and the American Institutes for Research in a session focused on “Powering Up STEM Through Technology.”

Dell Services president, Steve Schuckenbrock will be a guest speaker at tonight’s Hall of Fame Awards Luncheon, recognizing Dell board member and founding CEO and chairman of the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI), Tom Luce. Tom was inducted into the STEM Solutions Leadership Hall of Fame this month, and will be recognized at the summit for his passionate commitment to math and science education.

“This is a well-deserved honor for Tom, who has been a thought leader and driving force for improving education for decades,” said Dr. Mary Ann Rankin, President and CEO of NMSI. “We are grateful to him for his ongoing leadership and commitment to NMSI and to the U.S. public school system. His efforts have significantly elevated awareness of the STEM education crisis facing our nation and have produced major changes in policy and funding paradigms that will dramatically improve STEM education for more U.S. students.”

As a Dell team member, it’s only natural to think about the future of our company and who our future leaders will be, but it’s important to remember that proper STEM education is bigger than us. As a supply chain leader, it’s our duty to support this mission for the betterment of the industry as a whole. When our students succeed, it puts us all on a path to success. Is the future Michael Dell out there getting what he needs to reach his full potential? Let’s all do what we can to make sure he is.

Comment here and let us know your thoughts on STEM initiatives and our future manufacturing leaders.

About the Author: Bill Popp