REX Tillerson, 61, is in his eighth year as chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil, overseeing a worldwide business that employs 79,000 people.
"American employers do not have enough applicants with adequate skills, especially in science, technology, engineering and math," Tillerson wrote in a column in the Wall Street Journal.
"The STEM-related positions that U.S. industry needs to fill are not just for biochemists, biophysicists and engineers.
"More and more jobs are applying cutting-edge technologies and now demand deeper knowledge of math and science in positions that most people don't think of as STEM-related, including machinists, electricians, auto techs, medical technicians, plumbers and pipefitters."
He went on to point out how many job applicants fail the basic math and science aptitude tests at Exxon.
A whopping 30 percent of high school graduates flunk the Armed Forces entrance exam.
Tillerson has embraced the Common Core State Standards, a voluntary, state-driven curriculum that is backed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.
As the name implies, the program sets a de facto national standard. West Virginia and 44 other states have adopted the standards, egged on by the Race to the Top initiative of President Obama in 2009.