Christel Henke, a publicist for the American Society for Quality, sent me this thought-provoking and quite honestly frightening note:
Over 85 percent of kids ages 8-17 say they aren't interested in engineering as a future career and their parents aren't encouraging it either, based on a new national survey of youth and adults conducted by Harris Interactive® on behalf of ASQ (American Society for Quality). As you know, the National Science Foundation estimates a projected shortage of 70,000 engineers by 2010 so an overwhelming majority of kids stating they have no interest in engineering careers could have serious consequences for the U.S. economy.
Thought you might be interested in this leading into National Science Literacy Month (Feb) National Engineers Week (Feb 15-21), National Science and Engineers Week (March 7-16).
MORE ON THE SURVEY
Lack of Knowledge and The Geek Perception
Based on the survey, kids aren't interested in engineering because:
-They don't know much about it (44%).
-The Geek perception is still at work as they think engineering would be a boring career (30%).
-They don't feel confident enough in their math or science skills (21%) to be good at it-- despite the fact that the largest number of kids ranked math (22%) and science (17%) as their favorite subjects.
Actress vs. Engineer?
-Only 20% of parents have encouraged/will encourage their child/children to consider an engineering career.
-More girls say their parents are likely to encourage them to become an actress (21%) than an engineer (10%).
Real World of Engineering Webinar
ASQ has more than 14,000 engineer members who are concerned about ensuring a work force of skilled, highly educated engineers for the future. To get more kids interested in engineering, ASQ will offer a free webinar called "Real World of Engineering" available at www.asq.org/education beginning Feb 16th (during National Engineers Week) and available for viewing the next 12 months.
The ASQ/Harris Interactive® survey was conducted among 1,277 U.S. 8-17 year olds and 2,196 adults ages 18+.