In New Jersey alone, several hundred thousand new jobs will need to be filled over the next few years by individuals adequately trained in at least one field of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).

As our reliance on technology increases, so does the need for high-tech expertise. New Jersey continues to battle neighboring and other states to get a hold on these businesses and jobs, but something that can't be matched is the Garden State's location.

"I think there's enormous opportunities for STEM innovation growth throughout the state," said Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, D-Middlesex, chair of the Science, Innovation and Technology committee. "We're seeing it clustered in our cities — our young people want to live in the cities — but at the same time we're going to see it growing throughout the entire state."

The Trenton metropolitan area was just cited as one of only 15 nationwide where at least 9 percent of the workforce is employed in a STEM field. According to a 24/7 Wall St. analysis, the region's STEM employment count tops 229,000. The report pointed to a move by the state in 2017 that prompted technology consulting and data management systems company Maestro Technologies to relocate in Trenton.

Zwicker said New Jersey is already home to a number of STEM hot spots; they're typically in the vicinity of a major research university.

Home to Rutgers University and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick is at the center of it all, Zwicker said.

"And they are rapidly building out an innovation center called The Hub," he said. "It's drawing startups, researchers, talent from all over the country and all over the world."

Camden in the south, along with Hoboken, Jersey City and Newark in the north, can also be added to the list of innovation breeding grounds.

"Over the next few years we should see several hundred thousand jobs right around STEM," Zwicker added. "It really is for people of all backgrounds and all education levels."

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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.