STEM featured in State of the Union Speech

February 6, 2012

President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address presented ideas and a vision that is supportive of the agenda and message of National Engineers Week
The President highlighted the importance of an American workforce that is globally competitive and prepared for the jobs of tomorrow, giving credence to the role of education, training and fairness – he issued both a call for a more skilled workforce and a salute to the American values that initially created a strong economy. The President called for “an economy built to last” and he went on to describe the role government must play if Americans are going to succeed and prosper.

But even as big as his message is in support of investment in science technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and workforce development,  others must play a role as well if we, as a nation, are truly going to ensure a diverse and well educated workforce that is properly trained for 21st century careers.  

ASCE outreach volunteers and others who support Engineers Week are not waiting around for budgets to swell and governments to act before they do their part to ensure a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce.  You have been, and will continue to dive right in by visiting students in classrooms, afterschool events, scouts, festivals, museums and more to encourage their understanding of, and interest in, engineering and technology careers and  to help them see the value of pre-college literacy in math and science.

And you are doing it in a very real way, as ambassadors of our society, going into schools so that kids not only learn science and math, but see, feel and touch engineering and make the connections between concepts in the classroom and the people in the field that are using these concepts to make a positive and lasting difference in the world. 

You are helping them see themselves as future engineers.

As the political winds blow, and the budget cycles pass, there is strong hope that STEM education issues will remain as this nation’s highest educational priority.  In the meantime ASCE stands strong in its commitment to reach students one child at a time, one classroom at a time, or one school at a time.

Engineers Week is February 19 – 25. If you haven’t planned something already, it’s not too late.   Be bold.  Get out there and make it your STEM mission to light a student’s fire for engineering and encourage the next generation of problem solvers and innovators for our profession.

What outreach activities have you been involved in that generated enthusiasm with students?  What would you repeat or do differently?

Leslie Payne
Senior Manager, Pre-College Outreach

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