I am still feeling the energy from the Girls in ICT venue held in New York City on April 26, 2012 where I participated on a panel with outstanding women from Microsoft, Ushahidi and Facebook.
The conference included women pioneers from government and private industry who engaged in a stimulating dialogue on the topic of girls in ICT; to recruiting and retaining women in ICT a topic where shared accountability is a MUST.
Further, ITU Secretary General, Dr. Hamadoun Touré pointed out Cisco in his opening keynote:
“Special mention should go to Cisco, a long time partner of ITU, which today organized more than 40 different events globally – and I know that many other tech companies have also been very active in promoting events and celebrations.”
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Tags: engineering, girl, ICT, technology, women
In my most recent blog “U.S. manufacturing: is it sustainable?“, I referenced an article about how U.S. manufacturing has been leading the economy out of the depths of the Great Recession. The authors put forward a thesis with supporting data that suggest Americans believe the manufacturing industry is the basis for wealth creation and is fundamental to a sustained and successful U.S. economy.
The rub is that only 30% of Americans said they have or would encourage their children to pursue a manufacturing career.
Why such a discrepancy? An answer to this question is not simple. However, I do believe we must seek that answer and address the gap, if the U.S. is to remain competitive in the global marketplace. Being an engineer myself--a manufacturing and controls engineer no less--I know the first and most essential step to a solution is making sure we’ve defined the problem well.
A 2009 survey by the American Society for Quality, as reported on manufacturing.net, helps to shine a light on our problem.
According to the survey, the top three reasons why kids aren’t interested in engineering:
- Kids don’t know much about engineering (44 percent).
- Kids prefer a more exciting career than engineering (30 percent).
- They don’t feel confident enough in their math or science skills (21 percent) to be good at it. This is despite the fact that the largest number of kids ranked math (22 percent) and science (17 percent) as their favorite subjects.
Survey findings on the adult side:
- Only 20 percent of parents have encouraged or will encourage their child(ren) to consider an engineering career.
- The vast majority of parents (97 percent) believe that knowledge of math and science will help their children have a successful career.
So, while American children and adults both feel that math and science are important (even enjoyable), there is an ironic disconnect (cognitive dissociation?) between recognizing the importance and committing to pursue a career in engineering and manufacturing.
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Tags: automation, Clemson University, DOE, education, engineering, Factory, higher education, industrial, Industrial Automation, Industry, innovation, Manufacturing, math, R&D, Research and Development, Savannah River Site, science, stem, technology, US Department of Energy, Virginia Tech