Congress (finally) decides to do something to aid innovation…

Congress finally decided that it was time to address the fact that the US is falling woefully behind the rest of the world – and Asia in particular – in educating engineers.

Drawing wide support from Democrats and Republicans, the Senate approved legislation dramatically increasing federal funding for research. The bill also seeks to jump start a revival of student interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs from elementary to graduate schools.

On average, U.S. colleges and universities now annually turn out approximately one million graduates, but only 70,000 of those degrees are in engineering. By contrast, China and India churn out 6.4 million college graduates a year, with almost 1 million of those in engineering.

This article provides more detail.

If the numbers above (1 million graduates vs. 6.4 million; 70k engineers vs. 1 million) do not provide you with a fundamental understanding of why U.S. companies outsource high tech jobs I’m not sure what will.

Having said that we can debate the relative merits of a U.S. based degree and one from China or India. But you simply can not argue with the numbers.

At this point we should all be concerned that we are losing a generation of engineering talent in the U.S. – what I find confounding about this trend is that that population – the college age/college student is the prime consumer of the result of innovative engineering.

MySpace, YouTube, Google, Skype… all live off that demographic, yet we do a terrible job interesting those students in the engineering that makes those services possible.

Please – get involved with your local schools and universities to establish outreach programs, help influence the curriculum (away from dry academic – toward the inventive, interesting, and cool) in engineering, math and science.

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