next time they ask when they will ever use the math try telling them that ... insert any math heavy career doing what they do.
I like this a lot. I have K-12, all depending on the day. Most who ask "when will I ever use this" is late middle school to early high school.
As much as practicing math is the answer for some people, asking young people why they don't see themselves in a STEM career or asking them to describe the person they do see in those careers would probably get a few kids thinking. They might start realizing that they can check off a few boxes on the list of traits people who belong in STEM careers have. This is similar to what they hope to achieve with better representation of women and minorities in STEM careers. The goal is that people can see themselves in the career but I think getting young people to really question why they don't see themselves in those careers helps in more ways.
This was a great explanation and example to clarify your reasoning for your suggestion above as well. Thanks for indulging in my question.
What I'm getting from this is the recommended answer to the question be used as a validation of their skills should they choose to go down a math heavy line of work, they can look back on experiences like the work they have now as positive reinforcements for how they can achieve such a career.