John D. Skrentny: Is there a STEM Worker Crisis? Science and Engineering Workforce Development in the U.S.


Monday, September 18, 2017, 12:00pm to 1:45pm


Allison Dining Room

John D. Skrentny, Professor of Sociology, University of California, San Diego.

John D. SkrentnyThere is widespread policymaker and academic agreement that “STEM” (science, technology, engineering and math) workers are critical for the innovation that drives economic growth. There is considerable conflict, however, regarding the question of whether or not there is a shortage of STEM workers in the U.S. Are there so few that we are in crisis, or is there in fact a surplus of STEM workers?

This presentation will explore the debate, shedding light on the history of the American goal of increasing the number of STEM workers, how jobs may have changed to increasingly use STEM skills, and how firms may be contributing to their own perceived shortages.

The presentation will conclude with possible policy reforms-- and point toward workforce development strategies that may better fit developing needs.

About the speaker

John D. Skrentny is Director of the Yankelovich Center for Social Science Research, Co-Director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, and Professor of Sociology at UC-San Diego.

He studies the causes and impacts of policies relating to opportunity and jobs, as well as the relationships between technological innovation, jobs, education, and regional competitiveness. His current work focuses on science and engineering workforce development, especially the role of training and demand for technical skills. 

Skrentny is the author of three books: 

After Civil Rights: Racial Realism in the New American Workplace (Princeton University Press, 2014), winner of the Western Social Science Association's Distinguished Book Award, Princeton's Richard A. Lester Award for the Outstanding Book in Industrial Relations and Labor Economics, and the Oliver Cromwell Cox Book Award from the ASA Section on Racial and Ethnic Minorities.

The Minority Rights Revolution (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2002), winner of the Outstanding Book Award from Political Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association.

The Ironies of Affirmative Action: Politics, Culture, and Justice in America (University of Chicago Press, 1996).

He is also the editor of Color Lines: Affirmative Action, Immigration, and Civil Rights Options for America (University of Chicago Press, 2001) and two special issues of American Behavioral Scientist (2012; 1988).

He is a former Guggenheim Fellow and his work has appeared in both scholarly and popular media.

Learn more about John Skrentny's work
John D. Skrentny homepage


See also: Fall 2017