Jobs using STEM skills -- science, technology, engineering and math -- are in demand in cities like San Antonio, which is ranked third in the nation for creating that type of employment, according to the Praxis Strategy Group that specializes in economic research.
Washington D.C. and Riverside, Calif., were the top two “new” hot spots for STEM job creation over the past decade, followed by San Antonio.
Ronnie Pundt, an engineering teacher in the STEM Academy at Lee High School, said he is not surprised by the national ranking.
“Our city has been moving in that direction for quite some time,” Pundt said.
An architectural construction engineer by trade, Pundt said the STEM Academy in Northeast ISD is why he became a teacher.
“It lets us prepare the students for a career and college,” Pundt said.
Pundt said since it began six years ago, the STEM Academy averages about 70 students a year, who are chosen by lottery.
“We have students who want to be here and they’re motivated,” Pundt said.
Among them is Hao Ly, who emigrated to America at age four with his father from Vietnam in 1999.
Ly said he was inspired to become a mechanical engineer by his father, a cook at a local restaurant who enjoyed tinkering with vehicles.
Ly said he already was aware of the San Antonio’s STEM ranking.
“I was really happy that a lot of new jobs are coming through San Antonio,” Ly said.
Jordan Hill-Ross, who will attend Texas A&M, said she plans a career in the biosciences.
Being that her father is retired military, she said seeing many wounded veterans at the San Antonio Military Medical Center was her inspiration.
Thanks to STEM Academy, Hill-Ross said, “I’m able to come up with ideas and designs, and problem solve easier because of it.”
In the right place at the right time based on the national STEM study, their teacher said, “There is a great demand for what we do.”