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Policy makers, employers, researchers, and educators have focused considerable attention over the last decade on the adequacy of the US engineering education system to meet the demands of an increasingly “flat” world. What has been largely absent from most discussions of the US technical workforce is the role that engineering technology education, plays or should play in supporting the nation’s capacity for innovation. Engineering technology programs graduate students with both 2- and 4-year degrees based on a curriculum that is often more hands-on and applied than for engineering.The relative invisibility of engineering technology is worrisome, because the number of people with this type of education is substantial. What’s more, the jobs performed by these individuals, which include building, maintaining, repairing, and operating a variety of technologies and technological systems, are critical both to the US manufacturing sector and to the nation’s essential infrastructure—roads and other transportation networks, communication networks, water supply and sewage treatment, and electric grids, to name just a few examples.
With funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Engineering is examining the status, role, and needs of engineering technology education in the United States. On December 2, the committee overseeing the project is holding a one-day workshop to share preliminary findings from its data gathering and to hear from educators, employers, and policy makers.
The event is free but registration is required and seating is limited. Lunch will be provided.