By Natalie Zarowny
Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds met with educators in Muscatine on Monday to give updates on STEM, a program that started a year ago.
STEM pushes student interest and success in science, technology, engineering, and math.
"STEM fields are projected to grow at twice the rate as non-STEM projected fields, and they also typically pay more," said Lieutenant Governor Reynolds.
Pay and job opportunities are great incentives to push the subjects.
However, ACT test results show just 51% of Iowa's high school seniors this year were college ready in math, and only 38% in science.
"We do have some issues about people not being prepared to take the courses in higher education," said Ben Allen, president of the University of Northern Iowa and STEM advisory council member.
Folks on the STEM advisory board say getting students prepared needs to start when they're young, and that means first creating interest.
"Helping students gain a passion for what they're working on is maybe the most important thing that we can do as a K–12 institution," said Bill Decker, superintendent of Muscatine school district.
And to create that passion, you need to make it fun and interesting.
"To build things, to make things run, to tear them apart, so the key might be in making sure we keep the project based type of learning," said Allen.
Both the schools and the state government said the ultimate goal is to get Iowa students to find jobs in STEM fields, and have them stay in state.