America faces a future of intense global competition with a startling shortage of scientists. In fact, only 18 percent of U.S. high school seniors are proficient in science (NAEP 2005) and a mere 5 percent of current U.S. college graduates earn science, engineering, or technology degrees compared to 66 percent in Japan and 59 percent in China.
To address increased demand for science and technology professionals, 4-H is working to reach a bold goal of engaging one million new young people in science programs by 2013. Currently, 4-H Science programs reach more than 5 million youth with hands-on learning experiences to ensure global competitiveness and prepare the next generation of science, engineering, and technology leaders.
4-H’s approach is comprehensive and holistic—from agriculture to climate change to alternative energy—youth are learning about highly relevant complex systems and issues that will ensure their contributions to their communities today and their success as global leaders tomorrow.