By Spencer Feingold

Barbara Humpton, the CEO of Siemens USA, stressed the importance of STEM education ahead of the White House’s first American Workforce Policy Advisory Board meeting on Wednesday.

“The best thing to get involved with is science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM),” Humpton told Cheddar from the White House lawn. “There are a lot of people who say, ‘but I’m not good at math.’ Hogwash.”

The comments came as business leaders gathered in Washington to discuss how the private sector and educational institutions can work together to combat skill gaps in the U.S. workforce. Other CEOs included Apple’s Tim Cook ($AAPL), Walmart’s Doug McMillon ($WMT), and IBM’s Ginni Rometty ($IBM). Several university presidents and trade union representatives were also in attendance.

The American Workforce Policy Advisory Board was established by an executive order in July 2018 and is co-chaired by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Ivanka Trump, President Trump’s daughter and senior adviser.

The board is charged with creating a national strategy to “ensure that America’s students and workers have access to affordable, relevant, and innovative education and job training that will equip them to compete and win in the global economy,” the executive order stated.

Humpton urged American workers to get trained in new technologies and be open to going back to university or trade schools. “Technology is just changing that fast,” she said.

Siemens USA, a subsidiary of the German manufacturing conglomerate Siemens AG, is currently working to fill more than 1,500 open positions in the U.S., according to a company statement. Most of the jobs require STEM-related education and range from software developers to data architects to welders.

Last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced there was an all-time high of 7.3 million open jobs at the end of 2018.

Wednesday's advisory board meeting was attended by President Trump and focused on four issues:

  • Develop a campaign to promote multiple pathways to career success.
  • Data transparency to better match American workers with American jobs.
  • Modernize candidate recruitment and training practices.
  • Measure and encourage employer-led training investment.

“Nobody has workers like we do,” President Trump said at the opening of the session.

For full interview click here.