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Honolulu District, American Samoa schools partner to advance STEM education

Published Jan. 24, 2014

By U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Honolulu District Public Affairs

FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii - The Honolulu District and the government of American Samoa signed a Memorandum of Agreement today to formalize a partnership for the Corps to sponsor STEM activities in American Samoa schools. The goal is to advance science, technology, engineering and math education in local schools.

This partnership aligns with the focus of the White House, Department of Education, and the Chief of Engineers to prepare students for STEM careers in the 21st Century global economy.

Representing the Corps was District Commander Lt. Col. Thomas D. Asbery. Representing American Samoa was Lt. Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga.

Lt. Gov. Mauga thanked the Corps for the Memorandum of Agreement. 

According to Mauga, “it’s another avenue for our kids to enter the field of engineering. We’re very happy about this agreement with the Corps.”

“This STEM partnership shows our commitment to keep America technologically strong by promoting STEM careers and motivating students to pursue professions in STEM,” said Asbery. "The Corps of Engineers is excited about our ability to leverage our scientists and engineers to provide STEM-related expertise. We are committed to teaming with others to strengthen STEM programs that inspire young people to pursue careers in these fields. This program is vitally important.”

“The people in American Samoa are very patriotic, and in the six high schools there, 1600 students participate in the Junior ROTC program.  Of these, 20 percent are at level four (seniors) and 18 percent of them go on into the military,” Asbery said. “Anything we can do to help them pursue STEM education will benefit American Samoa, our nation, and our military.” 

According to Asbery, “in 2008, four out of every 100 U.S. graduates was an engineer.  This percentage is among the lowest in the world – only 14 countries graduate a lower percentage. By way of contrast, in Russia 10 percent of graduates are engineers, while China has a 31 percent engineer graduation rate.”

The U.S. expects a total of 2.8 million STEM job openings by 2020 based on growth and retirements. 
The nation will need to increase the number of college graduates by approximately 1 million more STEM professionals to fulfill the requirement.

According to research performed by the Department of Education, careers in all STEM-related fields will increase 14% between now and 2020. The Department of Education predicts even more job growth in STEM fields such as mathematics and computer and biomedical science.

Release no. 14-002