Right then, where were we…? Ah, yes, the 2005 NAM Labor Day Report. NAM President John Engler said we suffered from an “innovation deficiency” in this country and the number bear it out. We post three charts her for you — all contained in our Labor Day Report — which al drive home the point — a point, incidentally, which Lou Dobbs, among others, is missing.The first chart we posted as a teaser for this report a while back under a heading that termed it “the real problem.” It shows the number of engineering degrees in China, Japan, the US and Korea. Fair warning: this is a depressing slide.
The next slide shows US graduate degrees in engineering, math, physical and computer sciences in 1983 and in 2001, and shows the percentage awarded to US citizens vs. non-US citizens. No, we’re not going down a Dobbs-ian road here. We have the best colleges and universities in the world and attract the best students. We need to make sure that they are able to stay here upon graduation. Ultimately in a global economy, the work will find them. We’d rather it find them here.
The final chart shows federal outlays for research and development for life sciences and for math, computer, physical sciences and engineering. You see the former climb as the latter falls. As John Engler said, while research on new diseases is absolutely critical, so is research and monies that will help cure the innovation deficiency.
We propose three steps to begin to address these problems — three major threats — facing US Manufacturing:
1.) Improve secondary science and math teaching to foster better student performance.
2.) Reform visa and immigration policies to attract those trained in math and science.
3.) Increase federal support for basic research in engineering, math, computer and physical sciences.
You can catch this all on C-SPAN throughout the weekend. There was a ton of press interest in this and you’ll no doubt be reading about it. Or, just stop and ask any manufacturer. They’ll tell you what the problems are, they grapple with them every day.
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