National workforce needs in engineering

Last year at this time, I blogged about how high-tech industries are experiencing significant growth, particularly in sectors at the boundaries of traditional engineering disciplines and fields such as biology, medicine, and product design. Coupled with that surge of career opportunities is an approaching demographic crunch in the engineering workforce as more baby boomers retire.

Larry Hanneman, the engineering college’s career services director, was recently interviewed in an article on that exact issue. He spoke about the shortage of engineers, and the creative approaches that companies need to take to recruit and retain top engineering professionals.

In today’s economy, virtually every governor across the nation evokes education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as critical to innovation, job growth, and economic development.

For engineering students, the future is encouraging. According to the latest PayScale College Salary Report, seven of the top 10 careers in high paying job areas are in engineering fields. And, Cyclone engineers are in high demand. This fall’s College of Engineering Career Fair is sold out, and more than 225 companies will be recruiting our students and alumni on September 27.

Students see the opportunities in engineering, not only as a career choice but also as a profession that enables them to improve lives and livelihoods through technology. I believe those are the two key factors behind our increasing enrollment. Our students know the important role that engineering plays in society. In a 2009 article in The Economist about green technology, Oliver Morton wrote: “The best thing a bright young person can do to help rid civilization of fossil fuels is to get an education in engineering.” I think he’s right, and he’s helping to get the message out about the social value of engineering.


One thought on “National workforce needs in engineering

  1. do we really have a shortage of engineers? we definintely have a shortage of products made in the USA. i am a baby boomer, 1975 ISU ME grad, and have 15 years in industry plus 20 years teaching MET. i have a copy of a US NEWS and World Report article from 1968 or so that sounds exactly like your blog entry. it influenced my career choice. i made a great career of it, but have a few observations.

    industry has always had a short supply of CHEAP engineers.
    we should have never gone to work for industry directly.
    the green theme is getting old and very little has been changed in vehicular transport or power generation, the big items.
    global economy is similarly flawed. we need to make our own stuff. study the demise of the British Empire after they decided to outsource all the work to colonies worldwide, somehow they have managed to not lose their little island.
    like many an article on this topic, yours has a few good points and three isolated data items.
    extrapolating trends based on one (aerospace) industry is dangerous.
    in 1970, petroleum was going to last only 50 more years. as 2020 is now 8 years away…
    the last 786,000 elected officials, each and every one of them has been the “education blank” (fill in namd of position desired). and the americans fall for it every time, both parties.
    in all 51 states, see the tax rolls, 75% of the jobs do not require what? a four year college degree. so we send 75 % to college and eliminate 2/3 of them. education does this? yes. a little vo-tech ed might be in order too?

    of course, i celebrate the success of engineering. i am sure you are seeing that i have attached more than intended meaning to your comments. enjoy.

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