Hug an engineer, especially this week

By Rob Neilley
Published: February 13th, 2009

Feb. 15-21 is National Engineers Week. Every year in the United States we officially dedicate one week “to raise public understanding and appreciation of engineers’ contributions to the larger society.” One week is nowhere near enough to acknowledge the people who build vehicles that take astronauts to the moon and 3G telephones that take you to places you’ve never been – plus find a good place for lunch when you get there.

In calling attention to this far too easily overlooked occasion, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers notes that U.S. President Obama recently said “investing in science, research, and technology” are paths to financial recovery. It’s engineers, says the SME, not bankers, who create real wealth.

The SME also notes that, even in this time of high and rising unemployment, there are many technical jobs standing open, begging to be filled. But there are no qualified candidates to fill them. U.S. colleges are graduating about 70,000 engineers a year. More than 100,000 are needed, and that number pales compared with the number of technicians needed across all industrial sectors.

“It’s our ongoing mission to add engineering to the career wish lists of young people,” says Mark C. Tomlinson, CMfgE, EMCP, executive director and general manager of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. “There’s nothing nerdy about innovation.” rob.neilley@cancom.com

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