STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, not to be confused with stem cells. It is estimated that many of the emerging jobs are STEM-related jobs, and that is not counting all the jobs that use STEM fields in some form or another. It is easy to see how important these fields are, and teaching them from K-12 to colleges and universities makes a big difference in the quality of workforce developed.
Mathematics is vital to the S, T, and E of STEM. A non-profit in Utah called the Utah Technology Council realizes the importance of mathematics and works hard to pass legislation to increase the rigor of mathematics being taught in schools. This is just one example of many groups who realize the importance of mathematics in many of the job-producing fields.
When mathematics is effectively taught through grades K-12 children prepare themselves for a host of job opportunities. Fields such as chemical engineering, software programmers, and geologists all use math to determine outcomes and solutions to industry problems. For example, when a geologist studies the age of a rock formation, they use mathematical equations for certain chemical weathering, strength and hardness of the bonds formed, and formulas that aid in understanding differences in rock types. A scientist will tell you that math is essential to the future of their profession.
Some states have adopted the requirement of math in all K-12 grades to increase the quality of workforce within their state, thus increasing the economic viability. While children and teenagers may not like taking rigorous math courses, it has been proven to boost economic development within the state it is practiced. Math also can prepare students for fields that may not be as math-intensive, but require use of logic and reason. A writer, for instance, may use fine-tuned logic skills learned from math at different times in his career. Mathematics is a universal subject field that has far-reaching economic effects.