June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.1530.1 - 26.1530.25
The Status, Role, and Future of Engineering Technology Education in the United StatesCalls to expand and improve the quality of the US technical workforce have been made in oneform or another for decades. Over the last 10 years, and particularly since the economicdownturn that began in 2008, the urgency of these concerns has grown. A key worry, expressedby both policy makers and corporate leaders, is that the nation’s status as a world leader ofinnovation is slipping. In fact, by some measures, such as awarded patents, the United States hasalready lost is position of supremacy.What has been largely absent from most discussions of the future of the US technical workforceis the role that engineering technology (ET) education, a degree pathway with 2-year and 4-yearvariants, plays or should play in supporting the nation’s capacity for innovation. This omissionis worrisome, because the number of people with this type of education is substantial. What ismore, the jobs performed by these individuals, which include building, maintaining, repairing,and operating a variety of technologies and technological systems, are critical both to the USmanufacturing sector and to the nation’s essential infrastructure—roads and other transportationnetworks, communication networks, water supply and sewage treatment, and electric grids, toname just a few examples.This paper will discuss the findings and recommendations from a project funded by the NationalScience Foundation that is addressing a number of questions related to engineering technologyeducation. These questions include: To what extent does the supply of engineering technologygraduates meet—or not meet—the needs of employers in different sectors of the economy?What kinds of changes in curriculum are under way or are needed to prepare graduates of theseprograms to best meet the challenges of globalization? And what is the extent and significance ofdifferences between the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed for engineering technologistsand those needed by engineers?The paper will discuss the project’s data collection efforts, which include a review of thepublished literature, an analysis of relevant federal data sets, such as the IntegratedPostsecondary Educational Data System, and two large surveys—one of ET program directorsand the other of employers of ET graduates.
Kuehn, D. P., & Roberts, M. L., & Buchanan, W. W., & Pearson, G. (2015, June), The Engineering Technician and Technologist Workforce Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24868
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