Monday, May 29, 2006

Schools in USA fail to produce enough engineers

Will more immigrants with engineering degrees be needed in the future, due to the failure ofUS schools to produce enough engineers? Dr. Arthur B. Robinson in the December, 2005 issue of the newsletter, ACCESS TO ENERGY, reported the following in his column on “Engineering”:

“…Only 15% of American undergraduates receive degrees in natural science or engineering …a recent major study ranked the United States 24th out of 29 countries in the ability of 15-year-olds to apply math skills. American industry needs people who can think. More S&P 500 CEOs have degrees in engineering than in any other subject…with its employees rapidly retiring, just Lockheed alone will need 44,000 new employees over the next three years. Yet, America is graduating a total of only 62,000 engineers per year, and those are needed to maintain current facilities.”

Since American 15-year-olds rank 24th out of 29 countries in their ability to apply math skills, it is not surprising that only 15% of American undergraduate students receive degrees in natural science or engineering, both of which require math skills. It appears that homeschool students with excellent math skills will have many opportunities if they choose follow an interest in engineering.


mkretzschmar said...

Maybe, but being good and having an interest in math may not be enough unless colleges have changed their introductory classes in the subject areas since I took them. They were called "weed out" classes when I took them and the point seemed to be to present massive amounts of information in an incomprehensible format with the goal of putting half the 300 plus freshman to sleep within 30 minutes.

I went to an engineering high school and managed a B in my engineering honors college calcalus so I don't think ability was a problem on my part. However, if the way the classes were taught were any indication of the kind student that would be successful in the field, you would wonder how any managed to think out side the box to solve a problem. Ultimately, I would say that only 25% of people I went to high school with actually ended up completing a degree in engineering.

I'm not saying there isn't a problem with American 15 year olds being able to apply math skills. But I would also be interested in knowing how many potential engineers were lost after being admitted to an engineering school. Is the ability to endure boredom and tedium absolutely necessary to become a successful engineer?

Daryl Cobranchi said...

I'm not an engineer, but I work with them. Yeah, handling tedium and boredom (read "attending meetings") is a big part of the job.