Tuesday, November 3, 2015

If Looking for STEM Truth .. Ask a retired Professional.

I've goofed on some of my STEM education opinions. I will stand by my statement that a big reason for STEM emphasis is the vendors' goal of selling tech stuff to schools but there is a shortage of STEM professionals.  The IEEE maintains wages have been stagnant for 20 years as evidence of no shortage but apparently complex factors suppress wages despite a shortage.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education.

The more I look at the actions of Administration, Politicians, Researchers, and other “leaders” the less inclined I am to believe they convey the “whole truth”.  The Gates Foundation has so heavily funded so many organizations that truth about education issues is on its way to non-existent.

I have a lot more faith in finding truth in the words of retirees, who were experts in their field back in the day.  They have no current vested interest in individual advancement, which so characterizes many “education leaders” climbing the totem pole today.

In pursuit of some STEM truth, I put forth the following words from a retiree on STEM and education:

Regarding stem, one concern of mine is an overemphasis on "job training" …..  and the de-emphasis of  general education, subjects like history and ethics which I view as essential I suspect are lacking. 

Are there enough qualified engineers in the US? Here is my view.

My last job in xxxx County was at a high tech company, xxxx, where I was a VP of engineering for a group of engineers, software, hardware etc. It was interesting that there were very few Caucasians in my group and no females.  I participated in the hiring and I can tell you that there was no intent to discriminate. We had many Chinese, Vietnamese, Koreans, Pakistani, Afghani, etc.  Not a single Mexican, but a few South Americans. Almost all hires were American citizens.  We would get very few Caucasian applications. I don't understand the lack of Caucasians.  There are more Mexicans in xxxx county than whites. We used all kinds of methods to try to get candidates, but job openings could take 6 months or more to fill. 

I can tell you that there are definitely not enough qualified engineers in xxxx County. To solve this, you can train more (STEM growth), bring in offshore engineers (xxxx company has done this), move work offshore (xxxx company does this in India), hire from outside the area (expensive and difficult because of the housing costs in xxxx), or hire from competitors (wage inflation, xxxx company doesn't do much of this for a variety of reasons).  It is clear to me that there are not enough engineers in southern CA to meet the needs of industry.  

I participated in offshoring to India and found it very difficult.

I was involved in a program to demonstrate to local high school kids what our jobs were like.  When the kids saw engineers working at a terminal in a cube, or even in the lab, and talked with them about what they do, the response was not positive.  I am not a salesman and it was not my intent to influence either way.  But I was shocked and even a bit offended at the response.

My brother’s son graduated from an Ivy League School with an engineering major/economics minor degree.  He and ALL of his friends took jobs on Wall Street.  He is out for about 5 years now, works in xxxx city, owns a nice home and is involved with trading natural gas.  I don't know if he is happy, but he is doing very well economically. 

The above is one knowledgeable honest voice about STEM.

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