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N.H. Conference Tackles Need For More Tech Graduates

Representatives of New Hampshire’s community colleges, public universities and business community are gathering in Manchester Tuesday to discuss how to increase the number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM graduates in New Hampshire.

Speakers at the forum say the United States will need one million more bachelors level STEM professionals by 2020. To meet this goal, the state will need to increase STEM graduates by 34 percent each year.

Chancellor of the New Hampshire community college system, Ross Gittell says education leaders are open to creative ideas.

"We're here to listen, we're here to listen.  What do you need from us?  From your institutional leaders, the system leaders, the chancellors, your presidents?  What you need from us, so we can be more effective in terms of graduating more STEM students."

Speakers at the event say that changing the way science is taught will be an important part of reaching that goal. Currently 60 percent of STEM students don’t finish their degrees.

Increasing retention from 40 to 50 percent could generate three-quarters of the needed graduates.