RALEIGH — You may be familiar with the idea that American businesses – especially those tied to technology and engineering – fret that our country is losing its innovative edge on the global stage. And because innovation drives technological advancement and economic growth – one might even say, hegemony – it’s a looming threat that many in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields are scrambling to address.
But STEM fields are facing a crisis of their own – fewer graduates in the jobs pipeline compared to industry demands, and companies hiring foreigners for STEM jobs because they are better qualified.
Friday morning in Raleigh, a group of engineers from industry, academia and even government met to discuss the threat of America losing its global lead in innovation. The panel discussion was part of a Summit on the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges sponsored by N.C. State and Duke universities. (To learn more about the NAE Grand Challenges, go here.) Titled “American Innovation and Competitiveness,” the panel was chaired by Lynn Soby, vice president of innovation and commercialization at RTI International in Research Triangle Park. It was one of seven sessions spanning March 4-5.
Three panelists representing public and private industry and government emphasized that the problem could not be fully addressed unless the nation’s secondary education system is revolutionized.
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