STEM & Sustainability: Preparing the Next Generation for Green Careers

Sustainability and sustainable development were defined by the World Commission on Environment and Development as, “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” As major issues present themselves, such as water shortage and air pollution, there is an increased emphasis on establishing and maintaining sustainable habits across businesses and communities. 


At the forefront of innovative, sustainable development is the STEM workforce. STEM professionals are responsible for many of the major technological advancements and inventions that can be tied to major leaps toward long-term environmentally conscious solutions. As parents and educators, it is essential to ensure students have access to quality STEM education, allowing them to improve their STEM literacy and prepare themselves to join the STEM workforce. 


In this article, we will explore various ways educators and parents can prepare students to fill green careers in the future – a topic that is becoming increasingly important and will continue to be in the years to come. 

The Green Revolution: The Growth of Sustainability Careers

A green career is categorized as a role that helps to preserve and/or restore the environment and planet. As the need for sustainable practices continues to grow, so does the need for green careers. 

Below is a list of green careers students could hold in the future. Educators and parents can share this list as a form of motivation, showing students what their future could look like if they continue to improve their STEM literacy and educate themselves on sustainable efforts in STEM. 

  • Agricultural Inspector
  • Landscape Architect 
  • Electrical Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Construction Manager 
  • Environmental Engineer or Engineer Technician 
  • Fish & Game Warden 
  • Architect 
  • Urban Planner 
  • Aerospace Engineer 

For a comprehensive list of green careers, click here to read the aggregated list by Career One Stop.

STEM Skills as the Backbone of Environmental Solutions

STEM subjects play a key role in the discovery and implementation of environmental solutions. This can be found across all disciplines of STEM – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These can be found granularly on subject level, such as data analysis practices in science, innovation in technical, systems thinking in engineering, and statistical modeling in

mathematics. Or, this can be done on a higher level, looking at soft skills STEM professionals have that play a key role in their success in developing and implementing sustainable solutions. This can be skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, or collaboration.

Integrating Sustainability into STEM Education

Knowing the role STEM plays in the continued progression of environmental solutions, educators and school administrators should put an emphasis on including STEM lessons in the classroom curriculum map. Consistency is a key factor in student comfortability in STEM subjects and promotes the continued development of these skills.


Here are some tactics educators can use to implement STEM lessons in the classroom:

  • Project-Based Learning: Project based learning allows students to learn through doing rather than seeing. Through hands-on lessons, students interact with the curriculum, understanding it on a deeper level.
  • Real-World Examples: By connecting STEM lessons to real-world examples, students can see why what they are learning in the classroom matters. This approach increases student engagement, comprehension, and retention.
  • Cross-Curricular Learning Methods: Cross-curricular learning is the practice of combining multiple subjects together to engage a wider range of students on a deeper level. This practice also gives students a better understanding on how the concept applies across the education landscape and outside of the classroom. 

Inspiring a Generation Through Green STEM Initiatives

School administrators can create a school-wide STEM initiative to promote sustainable thinking in students. This can be anything from creating a school garden to finding alternative ways to get electricity in the classroom. This project will allow students to think innovatively, practice collaboration skills, and take a green approach to their learning.

Promoting Diversity in Green STEM Careers

It is important to create a diverse STEM workforce with representation from various genders, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds. This need for a diverse workforce continues its importance in green STEM careers. This diversity is what promotes unique insights, thoughts, and ideas in the workforce, leading to innovative advancements that shape our world. Parents and educators can provide diversity in the workplace in a variety of ways, click here to learn more.

The Role of Technology and Innovation in Sustainable Careers

Emerging technologies, such as AI, are creating new opportunities for STEM professionals. These continued technological advancements allow for new sustainable practices to be discovered and implemented faster than ever before. STEM careers that utilize emerging technology will continue to increase in coming years, making it increasingly important for students to have technology fluency. This exposure can be done at home and in the classroom, showing students how technology can be used to benefit their education, rather than the common social uses they typically have. 

How STEM Sports® Supports Students’ Interest in STEM Careers

Green STEM careers will become increasingly prevalent in future years. At STEM Sports®, we believe curriculum should connect directly with STEM careers that use the skills students are learning. This connection allows students to answer the common question, ‘why am I learning this?’ It also promotes student curiosity around future classes, degrees, and career paths. 

If you are an educator or school administrator looking for ways to engage students in STEM learning that will help prepare them to join the STEM workforce and fill green STEM careers, click here to explore STEM Sports® current curricula offerings. 

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