Solving the Engineering Shortage Starts Early

Updated:

Engineers play a key role in society, influencing some of the world’s most impressive – and life-changing – innovations. From electricity and highways to digital electronics and health care equipment, engineers have made a huge impact on every aspect of modern life. As the world continues to evolve, engineers will play an increasingly important part in developing solutions to tomorrow’s challenges – and the world needs more of these skilled workers.

According to the 2018 Talent Shortage Survey conducted by the ManpowerGroup, engineers rank among the hardest roles to fill. In fact, 82 percent of industries struggle to fill engineering positions, as opposed to 32 percent of positions overall.

As an engineer early in my career at Rolls-Royce, it’s not just a statistic – it’s something I see every day. Since I play a role in pioneering the next innovations of flight, I struggle to imagine how someone wouldn’t find this career path fascinating and rewarding, yet many students don’t even know it’s an option for them. As we prepare for the workforce of tomorrow and the shifting demands of industries, we must ensure students have the opportunity early in their education to explore a broad array of career options and develop skills that will be critical in those careers.

Studies show students make decisions about whether they are good at math or science at an early age. If a student doesn’t believe they’re good at something, they are highly unlikely to pursue that subject area as a career. But how students experience subjects can make a serious difference in their estimation of their interest and abilities, a make-or-break in career trajectories. To address the engineer shortage, we must address the problem from a young age.

From early in life, I had a deep curiosity about the world that my family encouraged. Knowing engineering could be my future career, I transferred to a high school that offered PLTW Engineering so I could develop the skills to pursue that path. The courses helped me understand what a future in engineering looked like, gave me the experience of solving real-world problems, and helped me develop technical skills and those I would need in the workplace, like group collaboration.

But to truly connect students to a future career, it goes beyond just hands-on coursework; businesses must also play an active role in bringing opportunities to life. Rolls-Royce is a major sponsor of FIRST Robotics in the Indianapolis area, which is how I first learned about opportunities at Rolls-Royce before I’d even left high school. When I interviewed with Rolls-Royce after my freshman year of college, I had the familiarity and skills to already be confident that I had chosen the correct career path.

My career path doesn’t have to be unique. By bridging the gap between the skills learned in the classroom and the realities of the workforce, businesses can ensure students have the exposure, skills, confidence, and opportunity to succeed in their careers. To solve the engineering shortage, it’s a critical piece of the puzzle that must start now.

Cameron Crenshaw is a turbine design engineer at Rolls-Royce and a Project Lead The Way alumnus. This article is part of a series with education nonprofit Project Lead The Way that explores Indiana’s Future-Ready Workforce. For more information, click here.

  • Perspectives

    • Ahh…Yes! Turning a Hot Mess into a Cool Breeze

      "Problems cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them," is attributed to Einstein over 75 years ago. This still holds true, particularly in challenging communications. Many people address conflict at the level it was created by rehashing and building more evidence for their ‘side’ of an argument. Repeating a position tends to intensify the separation of people.

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • The IU School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering will now be named for Fred Luddy for his $60M gift. (photo courtesy James Brosher/IU)

      $60M Gift to IU, Second Largest in School History

      An Indiana University alumnus who founded the information technology firm, ServiceNow, has given his alma mater $60 million to establish an artificial intelligence center. The university says the gift from cloud-computing pioneer Fred Luddy is the second largest in the history of the IU.

    • POET ethanol co. announced in Aug 2019 it was closing the plant in Cloverdale. (photo courtesy: POET)

      Cloverdale Ethanol Plant Closes

      South Dakota-based POET LLC, the nation’s largest biofuels producer, is moving forward with a plan to shut down its biorefining plant in Cloverdale, leaving 50 Hoosiers without jobs effective Friday. The company tells Inside INdiana Business that it is not making any changes to the plans announced two months ago. 

    • The multi-year road project stretched from Bloomington to Indianapolis.

      I-69 Road Project Update

      The Indiana Department of Transportation has scheduled three public meetings for next week to update the community on the I-69 Section 6 road project.    Section 6 is an approximately $1.5 billion new interstate project stretching from Martinsville to I-465 in Indianapolis.

    • Chrissy Vasquez and Adam Ramsey

      Indy Reads Adds Staff

      Indy Reads Books has hired Chrissy Vasquez (pictured) as chief development officer to oversee marketing, development and the store. Also, Adam Ramsey (pictured) has been named manager of engagement, specializing in story telling through video and social media. Vasquez previously served as executive director and vice president of operations for Back on My Feet.  

    • Purdue Global Now Offers Analytics Degree

      The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that jobs in the field of data analysis are projected to grow 26 percent over the next ten years. Acting upon that data, Indianapolis-based Purdue University Global has launched a new Bachelor of Science degree program in analytics.