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Defining Engineering As A Career

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.356.1 - 8.356.7



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Paper Authors

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Laura Bottomley

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Aaron Clark

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2793

Defining Engineering as a Career: the States Career Clusters Initiative

Aaron Clark, Laura J. Bottomley North Carolina State University


Communicating to high school teachers, students and parents about engineering as a career is a complex task that has not necessarily been well defined or standardized. The States Career Clusters Initiative was an effort to define the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue a given career pathway. A panel of experts drawn from interested industry, government and academia nationwide compiled the lists with strong reference to national education standards in science, math and technology. The state of North Carolina took on the task of defining engineering and science careers. This paper describes the results of the North Carolina panel on engineering. The knowledge and skills identified form a strong basis for learner success whether the learner is a student in high school, college, technical training, an apprenticeship program or in the workplace.


Technological advances and a changing global market have transformed the nature of work. Jobs in the future will require students to have better skills, more knowledge, and the ability to be flexible in any occupational area. Students must also be prepared to work in ever changing environments with abilities to continually update their knowledge and skills. The above statement is one that is heard today throughout occupational education in every state. Public institutions, especially secondary education, have a mission to meet both current and future needs of employers with the graduates they produce. Not only do students need to have current skills, but have the ability to grow these skills in new and exciting areas. Knowledge about a given occupational area in no longer the norm when starting a career but more is needed in areas of technology, technical literacy, and computing. Given these statements about the future of education, the National Association of State Directors for Career and Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) and the Department of Education Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) set forth an agenda to meet these demands for the future of our workforce in America.

In January of 2001, the Department of Education (OVAE), under the direction of State Supervisors (NASDCTEc), developed a strategy to update current curricula to meet future needs of employers. This movement was funded by the US government and called the “Career Clusters Project.” This joint effort by states throughout the US was to develop curricula guidelines that could be used in future curricula development to ensure that the products will meet future needs of employers. The project was designed for both secondary and post-secondary education, but emphasis was placed on secondary education, as high schools work to

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright (c) 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Bottomley, L., & Clark, A. (2003, June), Defining Engineering As A Career Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11374

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2003 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015