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Recruiting Under Represented Minorities To Engineering And Engineering Technology

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Outreach and Recruitment

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1070.1 - 11.1070.8



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Paper Authors


Stephen Kuyath University of North Carolina-Charlotte

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Stephen Kuyath is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Technology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He has taught engineering technology courses at the college level for over 22 years. He has a strong interest in and dedication to improving both traditional and distance engineering education and to encouraging those students typically underrepresented in STEM fields to consider engineering technology as a career.

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Deborah Sharer University of North Carolina-Charlotte

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Deborah Sharer is an Assistant Professor in the Engineering Technology Department at UNC Charlotte. She was the first woman PhD graduate from the Lee College of Engineering, with a research emphasis in microelectronic devices and solid state materials. She has served in numerous mentoring and educational roles for undergraduates, high school and middle school students.

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

Recruiting Underrepresented Minorities to Engineering and Engineering Technology

Abstract An essential component of any modern economy is a well-educated and versatile workforce able to design and produce innovative products, processes, and services1. The American engineering workforce demands special attention because of its importance in contributing to the nation’s economy through research, design, development, and implementation of innovative products, processes, and services1. However, the engineering workforce in the U.S. has two significant problems: the U.S. has been unable to produce a sufficient number of domestic engineers2, and it has been unable to produce a sufficiently diverse engineering workforce3.

One reason for the lack of female and other underrepresented minorities in engineering is that these students show little interest in pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) related careers while in high school4. If these students do not enroll in appropriate preparatory courses while in high school and if they are unaware of the career choices available to them, they will not be prepared to pursue a career in engineering and are likely to choose an alternate career path5.

We have implemented an outreach project that increases the interest and improves the perception of traditionally underrepresented groups with respect to STEM courses in high school and STEM careers later in life. We are showing high school students that engineering can be fun, engaging, and possible for them through high school clubs and competitions. We will provide details of the project, and measured results of our efforts to date.

Introduction Between 1990 and 2000, there was a 3.7% drop in the number of bachelor degrees awarded in engineering in the United States6. Furthermore, between the years 2002 and 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 3% to 9% growth in engineering occupations7. These statistics suggest that the U.S. will be facing a shortage of engineers in the near future. If American companies cannot recruit domestic engineers, they will go abroad to recruit engineers or they will move their engineering operations overseas1.

The National Science Board’s, Science and Engineering Indicators—2002 states: “The United States has long relied heavily on scientists and engineers who were born abroad, and increasingly so in the closing years of the 20th century” 1. Clearly, the U.S. has been unable to produce a sufficient number of domestic engineers and this is a concern for many high tech companies in the U.S. In 2001, in an interview in the New York Times, Gordon Moore, cofounder of Fairchild Semiconductor and the Intel Corporation made the following comment: “We're in danger of exporting a lot of technological advantage because we're not training enough people here [in the U.S.]. Education, that's our Achilles' heel.” 8. America’s economy is in jeopardy because the U.S. is unable to produce and maintain a well-educated and versatile domestic engineering workforce.

Kuyath, S., & Sharer, D. (2006, June), Recruiting Under Represented Minorities To Engineering And Engineering Technology Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--296

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