Not enough students are pursuing technical degrees to fulfill the projected demand for engineers in the United States, according to a report by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee.
While the number and proportion of jobs in the technical industries are expected to increase, the number of students graduating with degrees in these industries has dropped significantly, according to the report.
Lockheed Martin alone estimates that they will need to hire at least 60,000 new scientists and engineers in the next ten years, according to Norman Robbins, Lockheed Martin senior manager of community relations.
Lockheed Martin is one of more than 500 businesses and organizations strengthening the technical workforce pipeline by outreaching to today’s students and inspiring them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, referred to as STEM.
“We simply must get U.S. kids jazzed up about math, science and engineering. It is a business imperative for Lockheed Martin, but it is an imperative for our country as well,” Robbins said.
Lockheed Martin advocates the importance of early STEM education and awareness to the future of the technical workforce though programs focused on student achievement, teacher development and diversity, according to the Lockheed Martin website.
As an example, Engineers in the Classroom, a Lockheed Martin educational outreach program, sends engineers to schools year-round to encourage students to pursue STEM courses throughout their education.
Lockheed Martin is also a sponsor of National Engineers Week held from Feb. 17-23, Robbins said.
“Lockheed Martin uses National Engineers Week as a primary vehicle to reach out to local schools to get them interested in creativity, math, science and engineering,” Robbins said.
Engineers from Lockheed Martin’s Aeronautics division interacted with students at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History throughout National Engineers Week, Anne Herndon, director of school and youth programs at the museum, said.
They, along with Mouser Electronics, IBM and CHASE, sponsored an interactive exhibit designed to inspire children to think of themselves as engineers, Herndon said.
“A lot of times, kids make the decisions for their careers at this age, elementary and middle school, so this is a great way for them to think about something new that they may not have thought about,” said Herndon. “It is really important, especially in our country, to consider creating engineers that will help us move further into the 21st century.”
Activities ranged from flying in an F-35 cockpit simulator to building catapults and taking apart electronics. Over 2,500 students from across Tarrant County came on field trips to experience the exhibit.