I just received a press release from IEEE, calling itself "the driving force behind changing the perception of math and science-based careers." Funny, because I just spent two days at ISA with Executive Director Pat Gouhin and Automation Federation Chairman Steve Huffman, and they are "the global voice of automation," and they are constructing, with the US Department of Labor, a standard set of competencies for the automation professional."A major focus of IEEE’s efforts," the release says, "is around engaging young people on engineering topics and fields. 'We have two goals,' says Drexel University engineering Professor Moshe Kam, 2007 IEEE Vice President for Educational Activities. 'We would like to increase the propensity of young people to choose engineering as a career path, and we would like to increase the understanding that engineering provides young people with a viable and exciting future, among the parents, school counselors and teachers who provide young people with guidance about course selection and career choices.'"
And ISA wants to do the same thing. So does FIRST Robotics, which, with Tufts University, has developed several sets of STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) education curricula that have been in use for over a decade now.
So help me to understand why the PR machines are pumping out, "We're the leader," "We are the voice," "We are the best," and it appears that nobody is talking to each other.
More, there appear to be competing calls to action-- that can only get in the way, folks.
From the IEEE press release, "To this end, IEEE recently partnered with the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) to create a report entitled "Changing the Conversation," and issued a call to action for the entire industry to come together to create a coordinated, multi-year campaign to deliver the message that engineers make a world of difference – focused especially on young people who don’t see engineering as a place where they can dream."
If IEEE and NAE are calling, will the other parties answer the phone? One can only hope.