The state of Maine has significant resources devoted to educational programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The state’s abundant natural resources and access to solar and off-shore energy, ocean resources, and bio-fuels have spurred the development of a number of projects and institutes to promote STEM research and education. The Maine Office of Innovation has identified seven STEM occupational clusters withing the Maine economy that old great promise for development and jobs of the future. These clusters are biotechnology, composites, environmental technology, forest products and agriculture, information technology, marine technology, and precision manufacturing.
Addressing the issue of preparedness of Maine students for jobs in STEM areas has been a concern of the legislature, the Maine Department of Education, the Office of the Governor, and a number of business and research institutes across the state. In the spring of 2010, policy researchers from Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) were asked by members of the Maine STEM Collaborative Steering Committee to develop a briefing paper on the status of STEM programs in Maine. Three members of the Collaborative’s Steering Committee (Anita Bernhardt of the Department of Education, Jan Mokros of the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance, and Vicki Nemeth of Maine EPSCoR) provided important information for the report.