Ways to enhance teens’ interest in manufacturing
Posted by Bert Maes on February 10, 2010
Many believe the key to strengthening the economy and competing globally lies in fostering an innovative culture and educating youth in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
According to this year’s Lemelson-MIT Invention Index, an annual survey that gauges Americans’ perceptions about invention and innovation, teens are enthusiastic about these subjects, with 77 percent interested in pursuing a STEM career.
Some tips for STEM education to engage youth ages 12 through 17:
- Hands-On Learning outside the classroom is the best way to get them interested in STEM careers:
- Access to places outside the classroom where they can go to build things and conduct experiments (53%).
- Teachers play a powerful role in exciting teens about STEM
- More than half of teens (55%) would be more interested in STEM simply by having teachers who enjoy the subjects they teach.
- 43%said that role models in STEM fields is crucial in teens’ motivations and would increase their interest in learning about these areas.
- A large majority of respondents wished they knew more about STEM in order to create or invent something (85%).
- Many might be discouraged from pursuing professions in these areas due to a lack of understanding of the subjects or what people in these fields do, and the societal impact that STEM professionals have (51%). This further illustrates the need for teachers and mentors in these areas.
= We have to offer kids QUALITY: the best teachers and the best technology!
Another survey, conducted on behalf of the American Society for Quality shows similar findings:
- Kids don’t know much about engineering — 44%.
- Kids prefer a more exciting career than engineering — 30%. (or with the words of another blogger: How to get kids more interested in chemistry? Blow things up!)
- They don’t feel confident enough in their math or science skills — 21% — to be good at it.
The US National Science Foundation projects a shortage of 70,000 engineers in 2010. However… Engineering is a strong career choice:
There will always be a need for future engineers – not just in existing companies, but also to start new companies that provide the world with the next great innovation. Manufacturing is the backbone to our economy. When manufacturing is strong, our economy is strong. Manufacturing is strong when it produces products and technology that help to improve lives.
* Engineers make a world of difference.
* Engineers are creative problem-solvers.
* Engineers help shape the future.
* Engineering is essential to our health, happiness, and safety.
* Engineering is a satisfying profession that involves creative ideas and teamwork.
* And don’t forget the good salaries! Earn more than the rest…
DON’T GIVE UP YOUR AMBITIOUS DREAMS TO MAKING THINGS USING YOUR OWN IMAGINATION, IDEAS & PROCESSES, BUT MOVE FORWARD WHOLEHEARTEDLY TO STUDY ENGINEERING!