Iowa Grapples with Engineer Shortage

Posted on February 18, 2007  Comments (0)

State grapples with engineer shortage:

“In the past four years or so, it’s become increasingly difficult to fill positions, especially for people who have experience and can come in with a good skill set,” Dougherty said. “In some instances, you simply go without filling those jobs for a long time.”

Loren Zachary, an assistant dean at the ISU College of Engineering, said enrollment has been mostly in a downward trend over the past six years. In 2001, the college had 1,556 new freshmen; in the fall of 2006, freshman enrollment was 1,213, which was up slightly from 2005’s enrollment of 1,155. Of the 800 or so students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in engineering from ISU each year, more than 60 percent leave the state for employment, according to Hanneman’s figures.

“Certainly you have a lot of engineering students who are leaving the state,” said the IES’s Scott. “You’ll always have that because the universities attract many out-of-state students.” Zachary said ISU has only a small number of engineering students who are women or minorities. For the current academic year, 14.5 percent of undergraduate engineering students are female. These are two demographics the university is targeting to boost enrollment. “We need more females in engineering,” Zachary said. “It’s an untapped market for us.”

The article mentions several programs for primary and secondary school students we have mentioned previously: Project Lead the Way, Math Counts and FIRST LEGO League

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