According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in occupations related to STEM is projected to grow to more than 9 million between 2012 and 2022. The annual average wage for all STEM occupations is $79,640. That's 1.7 times the national annual average wage for all occupations ($46,440). In Maryland, there are 11,480 information technology businesses awarded $11.52 billion in federal contracts annually. Maryland ranks first among the states in the percentage of professional and technical workers (28.3 percent) in the workforce, says the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. But finding highly skilled workers has been difficult for many employers across STEM industries. By 2018, according to economic projections from the White House, there could be as many as 2.4 million unfilled STEM jobs.