Monday, June 22, 2015

The STEM Crisis and How a Thousand Points of Light isn't Necessarily a Good Thing

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the rapid increase in awareness of the STEM Crisis in this country. There are now 100’s of organizations that are involved in STEM education. In some ways, this new found awareness may actually have caused some confusion or, at least, a loss of clarity with regard to the problem we face. I’d like to focus on one key point: There is no doubt that we face an uphill battle to replace an aging technical workforce with talented and well-trained young professionals that can carry our country’s industries into the future.

We have a responsibility here that should not be overlooked. A responsibility to the generations that came before us to ensure the continuity of the legacy that’s been left for us…. And a responsibility to future generations to leave them with an economy that will meet the nation’s future needs.

But how do we achieve that? Clearly, the solution must ultimately lead to sound industries that are poised to be competitive on an international stage. To do that, we must begin with the proper resources ... and that begins with a properly trained workforce. The best legacy we can leave is to ensure that there are enough young men and women with the right tools and skills to step in and take over when we hand over the corporate reins to them.

This is the largest single contributor to the future success of the companies we represent. In today’s global market place, we must acknowledge that we cannot be successful by remaining passive and assuming that the educational process will properly take place without our direct involvement.

We need to start thinking about this differently. Education is not the government’s problem. It’s not the school district’s problem. It’s OUR problem. We own it. We will either benefit from its solution or suffer from the effects of our failure to do so.

Creating a continuous and integrated pathway that allows us to lend our volunteerism and professional expertise to this effort is an overriding goal of all of the cumulative efforts being undertaken by the SAE Foundation.

The programs being nurtured by the Foundation are oriented towards developing tomorrow's workforce. These programs have a strong track record in identifying students with STEM talent, keeping them engaged throughout their education and, ultimately, result in the development of future scientists, engineers and leaders that will carry our industries into the next generation.

But these programs can only continue to be effective with your support so I thank each and every one of you for all that you do, no matter how small or how large the contribution.

We need thousands of new people with the high-caliber professional and leadership skills that will guide our industries into the future and ensure that our companies remain competitive on a global stage. So, please, if you take anything away from this post, I hope you take the message back to your organizations to get involved and continue to support the STEM education related efforts of the SAE Foundation.