June 16, 2002
June 16, 2002
June 19, 2002
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General Engineering Technology- A Broader Spectrum of Student Needs
Paul Kauffmann and Vernon W. Lewis Old Dominion University
The need for energetic focus on workforce development is well documented. However, there is no clear road map on how community colleges and universities should collaborate to support these programs. This paper examines an innovative, new baccalaureate degree that provides a possible model for these efforts. Old Dominion University has developed an extensive distance learning system that includes 32 remote community college sites and a total of fourteen hospital, military, and industrial sites in several states. As an essential element of the program offerings in this system, the Department of Engineering Technology has traditionally offered TAC of ABET accredited options in Civil, Electrical, and Mechanical Technology. Based on close collaboration with the community college system and industry participants it became clear that there was a large group of technology -oriented students who were not served by these programs. To address this issue, the General Engineering Technology option with a number of specialization areas has been developed. This degree program has been enthusiastically welcomed and appears to have great potential to improve the technology based workforce.
A basic search of the World Wide Web for sites related to “workforce development” provides testimony to the number of cities, states and regions in this country and the world that have developed agencies or departments to focus on this critical area of economic growth and development. A report by the Center for Workforce Success  identified the key issue as the supply of well trained people capable of performing the tasks required by the high-technology, global economy. This report further highlighted several indicators of the serious problems in meeting this challenge in the United States: · Sixty percent of manufacturers report they reject half of all job applicants as unqualified. · Tens of thousands of high-technology jobs go unfilled. · 36 million adults lack a high school diploma An implication of these facts is that the United States cannot maintain its position as an economic leader without the advantage of a skilled work force.
Education at all levels must develop cohesive approaches to address these issues. Davis, Burck and Wessel  identify the significant role that education must play in solving this problem and indicate that education has a two level impact. First it quickens the pace of change in the workplace by augmenting the skills of workers. On another level, by enlarging the supply of qualified and educated workers, education narrows the wage gap issues between socio -economic groups.
Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition ã 2002, American Society for Engineering Education
Lewis, V., & Kauffmann, P. (2002, June), General Engineering Technology A Broader Spectrum Of Student Needs Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. https://peer.asee.org/10721
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