How will you provide appropriate economic value to the highly-skilled STEM workers as we transition towards a knowledge-based economy?
It is undeniable that the US economy is transitioning away from traditional manufacturing jobs into highly-skilled, highly-educated STEM knowledge based jobs. However, graduate (PhD students), postdoctoral fellows, and research associates - the work horses of this 21st century scientific revolution; often have high student debt, sub-poverty wages when their actual working hours are accounted for, and little or no access to health insurance and retirement investments. These talented individuals often work all hours with dangerous chemicals and equipment yet are uncompensated. Given the low value places on our most creative and innovated minds when they are between 22 and 42, STEM fields are loosing their appeal. When a factory line worker at Ford, for example, is guaranteed a stable hourly wage, health insurance, retirement investment options, and union protection why would one become a scientist? What public policies and protections are you considering to properly value scientific researchers efforts and help them develop a stable financial future?