The globalized knowledge economy has altered the nature of work such that employees in almost all fields and positions must have strong STEM, global competency, and critical thinking skills. A lag in the American education system has created a skills deficit for companies. Many employers report an inability to find workers with the skillset required for knowledge-economy positions. This skills deficit is detrimental to both American workers and corporations, ultimately negatively affecting the American economy. This paper uses the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) exam and other subject-specific data to analyze American high school students’ performance in the areas of STEM, reading, global competency, and critical thinking. The data show American high schoolers perform behind their international peers and do not possess the basic skills needed for successful participation in the knowledge economy, particularly in the areas of STEM, global competency, and critical thinking. Potential solutions include Project-Based Learning (PBL) and school-business partnerships, continuing education and wage increases for STEM educators, and multidisciplinary learning. To ensure the continued success of American business, the education system will need to improve to cater to the changing workforce of the globalized knowledge economy. Failure to do so will harm students, employees, businesses, and the American economy.

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