America has a problem: Not enough U.S. students are pursuing engineering careers.
That troubling fact helps explain why there are currently millions of vacant jobs across our nation, even as the number of Americans not in the labor force is the highest it’s ever been.
There simply are not enough applicants with adequate skills to fill many of the most promising positions available in the 21st century. This lack of skills is especially acute in jobs that increasingly rely on science, technology, engineering, and math.
This set of circumstances is worrisome for science-based companies like ExxonMobil, of course. But more broadly it is troubling for America’s future competitiveness in the global economy.
To help address this predicament, ExxonMobil has launched a nationwide initiative seeking to inspire the next generation of engineers. Our Be an Engineer campaign aims to highlight the meaningful contributions that engineers make to the world, as well as provide resources to assist young people interested in pursuing the profession.
In the weeks and months ahead we’ll be running a number of commercials on television in support of this effort. You can catch them at ExxonMobil’s YouTube channel as well.
Over the next few weeks I will occasionally turn this space over to guest bloggers who will share their experiences as engineers and why engineering can make for a rewarding and valuable career. Among them is Dan Mote, longtime educator and currently the president of the National Academy of Engineering.
Today, though, I want to share with you a few thoughts on the state of engineering in America offered by our Chairman and CEO, Rex Tillerson.
Rex is an engineer himself, with a degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas. These remarks, culled from various interviews and speeches he has given the last few years, are instructive for why we are pushing ahead with our Be an Engineer initiative:
We’ve got to help young people understand how exciting the world of the engineer is to be able to create things that have never been created before. …
One of the challenges we’ve had as a profession is that young people don’t really know what an engineer does. And it can take on a certain connotation of being nothing more than a technician, when in reality scientists discover things and help us understand why they are. Mathematicians help us calculate and measure. …
Engineers are the marriage of science and mathematics. We take those two things, we put them together and we create everything around us, from your iPad to this building we’re sitting in to the medium that we’re broadcasting to people today to the houses we live in to the cars we drive. They are all engineering products.
I am confident that the more that young people actually learn what engineers do and accomplish for society, the more they will be drawn to pursuing careers in that direction.