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Engineering Competency Model

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

INDUSTRY DAY: Industry-Focused Collaboration Techniques

Tagged Division

College Industry Partnerships

Tagged Topic

Corporate Member Council

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Paper Authors


Catherine Leslie Engineers Without Borders - USA

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Ms. Leslie is a licensed Civil Engineer in Colorado with over 20 years of experience in the design and management of civil engineering projects. After ten years as Civil Engineering Manager at Tetra Tech, Inc., she assumed the role of Executive Director of Engineers Without Borders–USA, a position she held on a volunteer basis for six years.
Ms. Leslie began her work in developing countries as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Stationed in Nepal, she developed solutions related to drinking water and sanitation projects. During the last 30 years, whether working in corporate engineering or nonprofit international development, Ms. Leslie has developed and utilized her technical interests in creating solutions for engineering projects that integrate the needs of the client along with the sustainable needs of the environment.
As Executive Director of EWB-USA, Ms. Leslie uses her organizational and project management skills to ensure that the volunteer organization can fulfill its mission and vision. Ms. Leslie was a part of the second project to be completed within EWB-USA, a water project in Mail, Africa. There she worked directly with the community and other volunteers to develop a agricultural water source, and this project was what eventually led to her passion and interest in EWB-USA. After six years as the volunteer Executive Director, Ms. Leslie joined EWB-USA as the second Executive Director since the organization’s founding in 2002.

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An Engineering Competency Model has been developed to serve as a guide for the development of professionals in the engineering workforce. The Engineering Competency Model (“the model”) provides a career ladder/lattice for the engineering profession and promotes an understanding of the skill sets and competencies that are essential to educate and train a globally competitive engineering workforce. This competency model for engineering will serve as a resource to inform discussions among industry leaders, educators, economic developers, and public workforce investment professionals as they collaborate to identify specific employer skill needs, develop competency-based curricula and training models, and develop industry-defined performance indicators, skill standards, and certifications.

The creation of the Engineering Competency Model included an examination of existing bodies of knowledge, as well as the inclusion and involvement from the stakeholders within the engineering community stakeholders within associations, industry and academia. As a part of this effort, work is also being done to provide materials for faculty, guidance counselor, and others who work with individuals who are entering within the STEM pipeline to provide specific guidance on the core competencies and skills necessary, as well as those that an individual will need to maintain proficiency during their career.

The need for qualified engineers is expected to increase over the next seven years, with the engineering field expected to grow by 8.6% between 2012 and 2022. The result will be over 544,000 job openings due to growth and net replacements during that period. It is imperative that clear and specific guidance is given to those individuals who may be suited to fill this need and will enter into the STEM pipeline. This session will highlight the new materials which can be used by individuals, faculty, etc to understand the core competencies and skills, as well as to provide a brief overview of the Engineering Competency Model creation.

1 BLS 2012-2022 employment projections,

Leslie, C. (2016, June), Engineering Competency Model Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26627

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