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Educating 21st Century Engineers

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2 Author(s)
Gover, J. ; Electr. Eng., Kettering Univ., Flint, MI ; Huray, P.

It has been well established that economic growth is stimulated by technology innovation. Most technology innovation is made by engineers. Despite the importance of engineering to the economic growth of the U.S., as the U.S. economy has become increasingly driven by global competition, U.S. citizens are exhibiting decreased interest in a career in engineering. This declining interest is evidenced by a major decrease of U.S. citizen enrollment in U.S. undergraduate engineering programs and an even larger decrease of U.S. citizens in engineering graduate programs. In response to declining enrollment, despite the increase in complexity of engineering, colleges of engineering have decreased degree requirements - typically about 20 credit hours over a generation; yet, declining enrollment continues. Because of the importance of engineering to economic growth and the constraints of the global economy on the salary growth of engineers, (1) it is time for the U.S. government to declare engineering a public good and (2) it is time for U.S. corporations to fill a major role in engineering education. Therefore, we recommend that companies willing to employ cooperative engineering students and direct their on-the-job education be permitted to pay the undergraduate and graduate school tuition of students and deduct their education costs as a tax credit. (Note that Medicare pays hospital for the coop education of medical students and physician residents.) The practical work experience would be a major element of the students' engineering education and the certainty of immediate, secure employment would be a draw to new engineering students.

Published in:

Meeting the Growing Demand for Engineers and Their Educators 2010-2020 International Summit, 2007 IEEE  (Volume:50 Papers )

Date of Conference:

9-11 Nov. 2007