Free ASQ Webinar strives to combat lack of engineering field interest in kids
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 percent 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 ASQ (American Society for Quality).
Why This Is Important
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shortage of 70,000 engineers by 2010 will likely cause less focus on innovation toward quality as well as aging and outdated standards,” said Cheryl Birdsong-Dyer, ASQ member and process engineer.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.”
Lack of Knowledge and The Geek Perception
Based on the survey, kids aren’t interested in engineering because:
• They don’t know much about it (44%).
• The Geek perception is still at work as they think engineering would be a boring career (30%).
• They don’t feel confident enough in their math or science skills (21%) to be good at it
Actress vs. Engineer?
• Only 20% of parents have encouraged/will encourage their child/children to consider an engineering career.
• Gender issues are alive and well: More girls say their parents are likely to encourage them to become an actress (21%) than an engineer (10%).
Real World of Engineering Webinar
ASQ has more than 14,000 engineer members who are concerned about ensuring a work force 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 www.asq.org/manufacturing. It was launched this week to celebrate National Engineers Week and is available for viewing the next 12 months.