Crossposted from Compete America, “Making a Commitment to U.S. Education and Workforce Development“:
As a member of Compete America, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) supports the retention of highly educated, foreign-born talent for the advancement of America’s 21st century workforce. Equally important, the Manufacturers, along with all Compete America members, are dedicated to encouraging the development of “home grown” talent so the United States can compete in the 21st century economy.
Our country is experiencing a deficit of American students and workers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. According to the National Science Board’s Science and Engineering Indicators 2010, about five percent of all bachelor’s degrees are in engineering in the United States, compared to 20 percent in Asia and about one-third in China. If we want to compete in the new global economy, a crucial step will be generating more domestic talent for these in-demand careers. We and the members of Compete America are doing something about that.
For our part, The Manufacturing Institute and the NAM are working with educators and industry leaders to develop the next generation of American manufacturers through a total renaissance in manufacturing education. We are integrating nationally portable, industry-recognized credentials into applied-STEM degree programs of study to benchmark the skills and competencies required by all manufacturers in all industry sectors. . Compete America actively supports this type of initiative as a member of the business community’s Tapping America’s Potential campaign, aimed at addressing the declining interest in math and science by U.S. students. Compete America is also an active supporter of the America COMPETES Act, which would increase U.S. innovation and competitiveness, and most recently applauded the White House’s CEO-led initiative, “Change the Equation,” which seeks to create greater literacy in STEM fields.
In further support of this goal, Compete America has established an Education and Workforce Committee, which NAM and Microsoft co-chair, and has released a set of principles to advance U.S. STEM education by increasing diversity in the STEM fields and helping returning military prepare for these high-skilled, technical careers.
Hispanics and African Americans represent less than 5 percent of the U.S. engineering workforce, but we believe minority students are an untapped resource for the next generation of engineers and want to foster that opportunity. Additionally, many of our armed forces personnel have military occupations that require they be trained with highly technical skills that are in demand in the civilian workplace. Separating military personnel need to be better able to translate and align their military skills expertise to allow for a more rapid and smoother transition to employment in the civilian sector.
Our nation hasn’t cornered the market on brainpower. It will take perseverance and commitment to maintain our competitive edge. Compete America and its members are committed to working actively to strengthen our domestic workforce America needs to lead the world’s innovation economy
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