We take it for granted that we will always have the right number of qualified engineers to design new products and processes as well as new bridges, highways, subways and transportation systems. It’s too bad that something in the American culture now discourages young men and women from seeking such careers. Increasingly, the gap between the number of engineers we need and the number going to school to learn this craft has been taken up by overseas students eager for this kind of education. As long as most of those foreign-born students stay here, then there isn’t a problem. But if they start going back to their home countries, then we would have a deficit.
Thankfully, many organizations, including NAM and The Manufacturing Institute, are taking steps to bolster interest in engineering, sciences and related careers. It was encouraging to see over the weekend that our sister association, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), continues to make headway in developing unique programs that draw the interest of potential young engineers. Kudos to them and other groups that place this as a high priority within their organizations.
Over the weekend, ASME held its Human Powered Vehicle Race down in North Carolina. It sponsored a similar west coast race about a week ago. Accoding to the ASME website, “human Powered Vehicles are aerodynamic, highly engineered vehicles that may be for use on land, in the water or the air….The point of the competition is the elegance and ingenuity of the design, including presentation, practicality and safety. All areas of engineering problem-solving are addressed – it’s not as simple as it appears to design and build these vehicles. And the competition itself is great fun for the team.” For a bit more information, read this article from last week’s Charlotte Observer previewing the then-upcoming races.
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