In Heidi Jannenga’s piece on Tech.io, ‘Why STEM Education Is Crucial to the Longevity of Tech Communities’, she discusses the importance for providing accessible STEM programs to all students, regardless of geography of income.

In the current era of global digitization, tech hubs like Phoenix, Arizona, have struggled to keep pace with the growing demand of a skilled work force in the tech industry.  Companies are feeling the side effects across the country, all resulting from an apparent lack of talent in fields like science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Nearly every sector of business, ranging from the automotive industry to healthcare, and even creative fields like film making and culinary arts, have been integrated with technology and science.

Since technological innovation occurs in expected hot-spots like Seattle or Silicon Valley, it’s natural for talent to gravitate toward those areas. These tech cradles are nerve centers of progress due in part to an infrastructure that can support the exponential and accelerated evolution of tech communities. Further assisted by local education systems, which were conceived for the purpose of fostering the talent needed to thrive in the tech sector, these infrastructures could flourish with resounding success.

STEM education dominates the current market with no signs of slowing down. Younger generations must be properly motivated and prepared. Turning Arizona into a source of high-caliber STEM education would, in turn, create boundless benefits to the potential of the state’s resource development and would attract outside talent and companies alike to the area.

Efforts have already begun to put Arizona’s education system on the right track, including those made by private businesses. Numerous companies, including WebPT, are providing students with direct and open access to their work spaces, which creates opportunities to gain real-world insight into what technologists do on a daily basis.

Through a focus on STEM education, the next generation of innovators, collaborators, problem-solvers, and pioneers can help to turn America’s science and technology dilemma around. And Arizona, like many similar locations, is setting the stage for STEM growth and technological advancement across the nation.

Information about the Phoenix startup ecosystem can be found here.

This story, originally published in tech.co, can be read here