The vitality of the nation's workforce, in an economy that is increasingly dependent on persons with scientific, technological, and quantitative skills, is a growing concern across the country. Evidences of this concern:
Tech Talent Bill
The new "Tech Talent" bill (H.R. 3130) authorizes and appropriates $25,000,000 to NSF in support of institutional programs designed to increase the number and quality of students studying and receiving associate or baccalaureate degrees in the physical and information sciences, mathematics and engineering.
The bill is good background for departments and institutions thinking about the future of their programs. See it at: http://www.pkal.org/open.cfm?d_id=95
Activity at the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR) of the National Research Council is directed toward identifying parallel efforts within federal agencies, national corporations, and academic institutions to connect students to and prepare them for productive careers in the 21st century workplace.
Staff from the Office of Personnel Management, in attendance at last week's GUIRR meeting, made a presentation on OPM efforts to help promote S&E employment opportunities. Of particular interest was the OPM website listing of all opportunities in federal offices. They said:
this is a "one-stop shopping" site for students to look for internship and/or summer employment in an agency (NIST, Transportation, Commerce, NASA, etc.) that could motivate that student to consider a career in an S&T field; it provides a single application point for students
on the day they were speaking, there were 17,000 positions listed, 1500 of them required a science/technology background
the openings are for faculty as well as for students.
Visit their website at: http://www.usajobs.opm.gov
PKAL-Hamline University Workshop: Preparing Students for a 21st Century Workforce
The topic of preparing students for 21st century S&T careers is the focus of a PKAL workshop to be held at Hamline University (St. Paul, MN) the weekend of November 1 - 3, 2002. Teams are invited to apply, with appropriate teams including faculty and potential collaborators from an area business or industry. The Hamline experience with an NSF-funded collaboration with the 3M Corporation on "identifying characteristics of science professionals that are valued by prospective employers" and then designing and implementing a university-industry partnership ensures that Hamline students seeking an S&T position are competitive candidates.
For further information, visit the PKAL website at:
Many recent national reports also address workforce issues in ways that could affect undergraduate STEM. See:
PKAL's new Report on Reports
Before It's Too Late: A Report to the Nation from The national Commission
on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century.
Building a Workforce for the Information Economy.
Ensuring a Strong US Scientific, Technical, and Engineering Workforce in
the 21st Century.
Partnering to Build A Quality Workforce: Critical Issues in Environmental
Technology Education at Two-Year Colleges.
Roadmap for National Security: Imperative for Change.
Science and Engineering Indicators - 2002.