June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies
14.856.1 - 14.856.21
Maintaining the Scientist and Engineering Pipeline Abstract:
Technology is advancing at an ever increasingly rapid pace. This is particularly true in the Department of Defense (DoD). Test and Measurement Systems (TAMS) require a continued influx of scientists and engineers properly trained to advance the TAMS support structures for new and advanced technology applications while maintaining existing support structures for current equipment. The demand for engineers and scientists continues to rise faster than the supply. The US is simply not producing the numbers of engineers and scientists needed. Couple this with the fact that there is a huge wave of baby boomers reaching retirement age that currently provide a great amount of scientific and engineering services. We all are facing a substantial problem. This problem is magnified for DoD which requires that its workforce be US citizens capable of obtaining the appropriate level of security clearances. The need for US citizens working in Science and Engineering (S&E) will continue to be in demand as technology continues to advance exponentially and the need for S&E in our nations defense continues. This paper explores a comprehensive and proactive approach that is currently being practiced and developed by a Navy engineering activity working in the S&E fields to help ensure that the pipeline of US citizens in science and engineering is supported at every step along the way. The approach presented is applicable beyond DoD and applies to any organization that relies on hiring technical employees raised through the US educational system. Through a number of community outreach activities, interventions at the grade school level through High School provide ample opportunity to strengthen the S&E pipeline at these early stages. Active participation with Universities through board participation, partnerships, internships, and career fair participation provide the critical link between the qualified entry level workforce and the needed defense sector jobs. Once the scientist or engineer makes the transition from student to defense sector employee, their continued development, advancement, rewards, and ultimate retention needs to be attended to in a systematic way. Stemming the brain drain from the wave of baby boomer retirements can be brought about by providing contract work as a transition from full time work to full time retirement.
This background is included to provide the context of how and why NSWC Corona Division and its Navy Metrology Engineering Center needed a whole system approach to obtaining, developing and training its technical and leadership workforce. Included are reasons that caused the organization to chose to participate in continuing outreach activities at the elementary, middle, high school and college levels as an important part of its overall human capital strategy. The remainder of the paper will focus on the Employee Pipeline.
A consequence of the end to the cold war was that the Department of Defense (DoD) found itself with an excess amount of infrastructure that was no longer required. The excess infrastructure included personnel no longer needed to support our post cold war efforts. This lead to congress authorizing a number of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) rounds to be conducted into the mid-1990’s that were intended to right size DoD both in physical plant infrastructure as well as in personnel resources. BRAC rounds were conducted every odd numbered year culminating in
Sugg, D., & Galloway, B., & Fishell, J. (2009, June), Maintaining The Science And Engineering Pipeline Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/5815
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