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An Engineering Management Investigation of Human Capital Needs

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Engineering Management Applications

Tagged Divisions

Engineering Management, Engineering Economy, and Industrial Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.156.1 - 25.156.8



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Paper Authors


Craig G. Downing Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Craig G. Downing is the Interim Department Head of Engineering Management with responsibility for continuing and professional studies at Rose-Hulman of Institute of Technology. Prior to that, his teachings assignments focused on delivering graduate-level instruction in the pperational and quality aspects of engineering management. Downing has more than 15 years of experience providing instruction in the areas of manufacturing, management, and mathematics at the post-secondary level. Additionally, he has amassed 13 years of industrial experience, four years as a Process Engineer, and nine years as a private consultant and researcher. His interests are rooted in industrial-academic relationships, quality management system development, and production/operations management. He is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt.

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Forecasting the Market: An Engineering Management Investigation of Human Capital Needs Craig G Downing Rose-Hulman Institute of TechnologyAbstractToday’s technical workplace requires engineers, scientists and technical employees with variousacademic preparations to solve the complex challenges faced by today’s businesses. As organizationsstrategically position themselves to be globally competitive and sustainable, sourcing and acquiringstrong technical talent is an essential charge. Making this proposition more daunting is the perceived,and in some cases real, shortage of talent. While policy makers and pundits may disagree on this issue,research performed in early 2011 by Aberdeen Group’s Human Capital Management division indicatedthat companies have realized that the ability to locate and land top talent will be the competitivedifferentiator.From the academic perspective, we must be prepared to supply organizations with the appropriatehuman capital necessary to design and produce innovative products and services needed to remaincompetitive in a global marketplace. In fact, a recent survey by ManpowerGroup showcased thatengineering positions were the third hardest jobs to fill for US companies. Applicants lacking theappropriate skills or experience were the primary driver for the talent shortage. However, one source ofuntapped talent lies in the Engineering Technology community. Engineers and EngineeringTechnologists often work side by side in the workplace performing similar, if not identical, technicalfunctions. Unfortunately, there exist a great number of organizations that are unaware of the truetechnical capabilities of Engineering Technologists.During the 2011 academic year, the author participated in a collaborative project between Rose-HulmanInstitute of Technology and Ivy Tech Community College-Terre Haute campus. The project sought toprovide student participants with a problem-based learning (PBL) experience focused on the newproduct development process. A primary goal of the project was to provide students with aneducational experience that mirrored their potential work environment in terms of technical rigor andprofessional skills (communication, leadership, teamwork, etc.). However, an additional opportunitypresented itself during the project.In the initial stages of the project we experienced some difficulty in acquiring the right combination ofstudents to participate in the project. As one of the Engineering Managers of the project, the authorbegan to wonder about the contemporary hiring practices of Engineers and Engineering Technologists.More specifically, the researcher ventured to uncover the issues that Engineering and EngineeringTechnologists face when seeking employment in the Engineering field. The balance of the paper willdiscuss some of the data collected from interviews with Engineering Managers and Human ResourceManagers charged with sourcing and acquiring Bachelor of Science level technical talent.

Downing, C. G. (2012, June), An Engineering Management Investigation of Human Capital Needs Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--20916

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