The Brookings Institute released a report this summer detailing the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) degrees, education and jobs on the current economic situation. Houston, which is climbing in many different rankings as our economy stabilizes and improves much more quickly than other large American cities, has once again been featured, coming in at sixth out of large urban areas nationwide that have large numbers of STEM opportunities. Houston’s sixth place ranking comes from having 22.8 percent of jobs in the area requiring the usage of some STEM training to complete. While not at the top of the list, this is still a very respectable place, as Houston is up against perennial STEM areas like Silicon Valley.

STEM jobs can come from surprising industries, and they are not all focused in NASA or the oil companies that our city is known for. Many different occupations require knowledge of technology and science, including medical professionals and those who work in mining, construction and many kinds of manufacturing, sectors in which Houston has been growing. Maintenance, installation and repair workers who work with HVAC and other appliances also count as STEM workers due to these items’ growing reliance on intricate technologies and other complexities.

As Houston is growing, there are opportunities for workers to get into these steady jobs. The energy sector is currently experiencing a talent shortage in some areas, and this is a great opportunity for someone to receive training, not necessarily a college degree, as there are openings at many levels – and to enter into one of the STEM-related jobs. The wide variety of employees that the energy sector needs — from top-level executives to rig workers and engineers who design their tools — means that there is a wide range of education styles that job seekers can choose from to improve their chances.

Gillian Kruse is a freelance writer living in Houston. She graduated from Rice University with a great love for all performing and visual arts. She enjoys writing about arts and cultural events, especially little-known ones, to help Houstonians learn about what’s going on in their city. Her work can be found at


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