In a job market whose long-term outlook is bleak at best, those careers often perceived as ‘geeky’ such as engineering and IT are expected to grow in demand. Yet 85% of kids ages 8-17 say they aren’t interested in engineering as a future career and their parents aren’t encouraging it either, based on a new national survey of youth and adults conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Society for Quality (ASQ).
The National Science Foundation estimates a projected shortage of 70,000 engineers by 2010 so an overwhelming majority of kids stating they have no interest in engineering careers could have serious consequences for organizations’ productivity around the country, as well as the very infrastructure of the nation.
“The shortage of 70,000 engineers by 2010 will likely cause less focus on innovation toward quality as well as aging and outdated standards,” said Cheryl Birdsong-Dyer, ASQ member and process engineer. “In addition, knowledge transfer from retiring engineers to incoming engineers will continue to weaken threatening progress. This will increase infrastructure costs for generations to come.”
ASQ has more than 14,000 engineer members who are concerned about ensuring a workforce of skilled, highly educated engineers for the future. To get more kids interested in engineering, ASQ now offers a free webinar called “Real World of Engineering” available at http://www.asq.org/education/why-quality/real-world-of-engineering.html.