Using Data to Guide Strategic Activities for the Network

Making sure that our activities are evidence-based and data driven is a First2 Network priority, and folks have been working hard to make sure that we have a centralized comprehensive picture of STEM education especially focused on first generation and under-represented student success. As we go about this work to identify gaps and needs, we have come across several wonderful (if siloed) sources of state-wide data that First2Network members could and should access in planning next steps or projects to move the needle on STEM!

Here are a few that have been pointed out during some recent meetings:

WV Higher Education Policy Commission has an amazing data portal.  Of note is the interactive West Virginia Higher Education Data Explorer.  I spent some time on the High School Senior Opinions Survey to find out where students plan to continue their education and what they plan to major in. As far as STEM majors go, health professions and related programs and engineering are the top two.  From what I could tell, biology is within the health sciences bubble.  Science, and engineering technologies, computer science and physical science are well represented, and we shouldn’t discount Natural Resources and Agriculture as they had a strong showing as well. In short, WV students like STEM!

We need to do more work to understand and expand what students can do with this passion in our state once they graduate, but here are a couple of resources that make a great start.  Tech Connect WV has  a published survey on STEM jobs in WV , and an innovation economy map.  The West Virginia Development Office has a fantastic interactive website that allows you to click on an industry, see the top WV companies in that field and where they are located. Check it out.

Do you know of additional data sources related to STEM education and STEM jobs in WV?  Post your finds in the comments section.

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