Cover Image

PAPERBACK
$58.25



View/Hide Left Panel
Click for next page ( 204


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 203

OCR for page 203

OCR for page 203
Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D. President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Good afternoon. If, ever, there was a time at which one might be in danger of preach- ing to the choir, this may be that time. I find myself in the happy circumstance of being surrounded by like minds and comparable interests. There are more than 30 organizations participating at this summit, and even more in attendance each con- cerned with, and working on, the issue of developing the United States' scientific and technological workforce of the future. I currently serve with three of these organizations: With our hosts, the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR) I am a member of the Roundtable, and chair the Working Group on the Science and Engineering Workforce. With Building Engineering and Science Talent (BEST) I serve on the Board of Directors' executive committee, and chair BEST's Blue Rib- bon Panel on Higher Education. With the Committee for Economic Development I am co-chair of the Subcommittee on the Supply of Scientists and Engineers. So you can discern the level of my interest in, and commitment to, this issue. And to be in this company to be a member of this choir, if you will is an abundance of riches. One would wish only that the topic were neither so serious nor so urgent. I am sure that most of you saw in yesterday's Chronicle of Higher Education that the number of doctorates awarded by American research

OCR for page 203
PAN-~CANIZAHONAL SUMMIT universities in 2001 fell to a level not seen in nine years a decline of 4.5 percent over 1998, the all-time high. The decrease in doctorates in the science and engineering disciplines, which fell by 6.5 percent since 1998, is responsible for a major portion of the decline. Fields outside science and engineering, on the other hand, saw a decrease of less than 1 per- cent over 1998. Is there a more apt, or more timely, incentive for our work at this summit? Obviously not. Nevertheless, I am buoyed and encouraged because what I sense, overwhelmingly, is that this summit may represent an approaching criti- cal mass a coming together of enough good minds, good work, and good research on the issue. With critical mass, we can begin to make a real difference. To make a difference, this issue must capture the full and serious at- tention of lawmakers, policymakers, educators, corporate executives, gov- ernment officials, the media, and, ultimately, the public, for these are the constituencies that, in the end, will address and resolve it. And to have that happen, we will want to work in concert with each other, supple- menting our research data and pressing conjointly for the points upon which we agree. So, as I have said, I am buoyed that there are so many organizations that take this issue seriously, each approaching the situation with its own perspectives, having positions that reflect the issue's urgency to them, and actively working for change. For although we may differ on some aspects, and although we may differ on approach, we are moving in es- sentially the same direction. And, that is the important thing. For, surely, we all understand that if the United States is to continue to be a world leader, a nation without peer a position Americans have enjoyed for decades and now take for granted the nation must make a substantial investment in its scientific and technological capital, its intel- lectual capital. As we all know, the source of our innovative capacity and technologi- cal ability, which has given us heretofore unknown richness, choice, and leadership, is thinning. We know that the average age of the science and engineering workforce is rising. And we know that the total number of retirements among science- and engineering-degreed workers will dramatically in- crease over the next 20 years. We know, too, that the college-age population has declined, that fewer U.S. students are electing courses of study in the sciences (espe- cially the physical sciences) and engineering, and that growth in doctor- ates awarded has been to students from overseas, not to U.S. recipients.

OCR for page 203
The net of these and other factors is that U.S. production of science and engineering professionals is at risk of not being sufficient to maintain the status quo, which puts the United States in danger of relinquishing its world leadership to other nations leadership important not only to our economic status and security but to the world. For years we have avoided confronting this issue, shielded by import- ing the advanced talent that we need on H-1B visas. International scien- tists and engineers have been, and remain, a valuable reservoir of talent for the U.S. But several factors make this no longer a viable option for the long term. With new homeland security concerns, many science and engineer- ing positions (especially in government and with regard to certain dual- use technologies) must be held by U.S. citizens, and only by U.S. citizens. Moreover, the United States finds itself amid nations fast becoming peers in science and engineering. Centers of technology-based activity, train- ing, and entrepreneurial activity are spreading rapidly throughout the globe. China, for instance, which used to send students to the United States for advanced training, has increased its domestic Ph.D. production by a factor of 60 over the last 15 years. Those students who used to come to the United States to earn advanced degrees and then stay to work in our industries, now have a viable choice to return home, where they can find both employment and the satisfaction of building and contributing to their own nations. We are not the only game in town. What we are considering is occurring, and must occur, within the global context. Other nations have put into place strong national strategies to pro- mote and expand their core technological strengths. These countries rec- ognize that national superiority, security, and economic status in a global economy rely on technological capacity and their ability to muster a tech- nologically trained and literate workforce. Yet, despite the obvious need, the United States has no national plan for "growing and sustaining our own" technological talent. This is a general consideration and overall risk. There are areas of specific concern, however. I already spoke of govern- mental needs. The situation with regard to nuclear science is another case in point. As in the other science and engineering disciplines, the nuclear workforce is approaching retirement age without a corresponding influx of appropriately qualified younger personnel to replace them. Fewer young people are studying nuclear science, nuclear engineering, and related fields at the university level, and a growing number of universities are giving up their nuclear education programs altogether, due to a lack of interest and perceptions that the nuclear power industry is fading. Yet, ironically, the nuclear power industry is recording better perfor- mance than in any time in its history. The safety, performance, and eco-

OCR for page 203
PAN-~CANIZAHONAL SUMMIT nomic competitiveness of the nuclear industry are at an all-time high. The questions are, Who will maintain and enhance existing nuclear technol- ogy? and Who will design the new in nuclear power, and beyond? On the security front, there are new threats from rogue nations and groups that have, or are developing, weapons of mass destruction. Home- land protection has taken on new importance, and if the United States is to engage in credible monitoring, inspection, and mitigation roles, it must have the trained nuclear scientists who can perform those duties. This is but one example. To maintain our economic standing and our national security, we must examine the scale and severity of the current shortfall in "succession planning" for the science and engineering workforce, as a whole, and identify educational and training initiatives that will help to ensure the nation's human reservoir of scientific and tech- nological knowledge and expertise. Now, there are varying needs. I am not talking about predictions of numbers of specific jobs in specific fields, but rather, national capacity- national capacity that has brought the United States, and I dare say, the world, to the degree of advance and progress we have reached today- national capacity to ensure our future and to provide hope to those be- yond our shores. I will not presume to suggest specific answers, or even to summarize all good ideas after all, that is what this summit is about. Rather, as we collaborate at this summit, and in the future, to resolve these issues, there are two key elements that I would urge you to keep uppermost in your minds. The first concerns demographics. The population of our nation now reflects a "new majority" made up of women and minority groups, which together account for more than half of our numbers. As an example, women now outnumber men in undergraduate enrollments. This "new majority" will continue to grow throughout this century. But although they now make up more than half of the nation's workforce, these groups long have been underrepresented in the science and engineering disci- plines. They are the underrepresented majority. Moreover, there is no tra- dition for them to follow, and few examples for them to aspire to. So, for some time to come, students pursuing these career paths will be pioneers, breaking a new path. This is a change with enormous implications for the future of the sci- ence and engineering workforce. It means that, although this is where sig- nificant talent resides and it is from these sectors that we must draw our future scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and technologists we are not doing so. This really must change. There is no other choice. The talent that we have as a nation lies within all of our young people, including this new majority talent pool. And, it is there. And, it can, and must be, mined.

OCR for page 203
To do this, we will have to find new ways to interest and attract these nontraditional pioneers into science and engineering. We will have to find new ways to educate them. We will have to find new ways to mentor them. We will have to value intellectual agility, if we want intellectual agility. We may have to alter workplace cultures to assure that these non- traditional pioneers feel comfortable and welcomed in their new careers. It is a huge undertaking, which will require new ideas, new concepts, new ways of thinking. But in the end, we are lucky because our nation has a rich vein of talent that can be mined and refined. The second element I ask you to keep in mind, and to which we must sensitize others, is the element of time. The challenge to building a new cohort of scientists and engineers is that this is not subject to a "quick-fix." The kind of investment that is required takes many, many years, as we all know. If we wait until we discover that we do not have a science and engineering workforce sufficient to meet our needs if we wait until that crisis actually is upon us it will be too late, by several decades, to rem- edy. That is why the crisis is today. I could not help but notice that last month the public schools of the District of Columbia endured a $30 million dollar budget cut. To accom- modate this cut without closing schools or furloughing employees, the school board postponed, by a year, the re-opening of McKinley Tech, a school in Northeast Washington, DC, that is to re-emerge as a technology high school. I am a product of the DC public school system. The genera- tion of students studying and learning now in DC classrooms constitutes our talent pool, and each time we delay engaging them, nurturing them, educating them, teaching them, we delay our future. The case could be made that delaying McKinley Tech sets back homeland security, postpones increased nuclear safety and security, de- lays energy production, curtails nuclear medicine and industrial radiol- ogy, and strikes at the heart of our economic security and global com- petitiveness. Nevertheless, there are indications that we are approaching critical mass in addressing these issues. Corporations have long understood the need to invest in programs for both students and their teachers pro- grams that build their future workforce. These help us to tap into the full talent pool. The National Science Foundation recently awarded grants amount- ing to $50 million over the next five years to support new centers for im- proving K-12 and postsecondary science and mathematics teaching and for research on learning. This will help us to tap into the full talent pool. We have new "No Child Left Behind" legislation, which encourages proven teaching practices and promotes the concept that every child is valuable. This helps us to tap into the full talent pool.

OCR for page 203
PAN-~CANIZAHONAL SUMMIT And we have the participation of so many groups here today at this GUIRR Pan-Organizational Summit on the U.S. Science and Engineering Workforce. Your commitment and your efforts have a cumulative effect. This, too, helps us to tap into the full talent pool. When we are all moving toward the same goal, the nation is in the strongest possible position, with the capacity to maintain our economic security, national homeland security, and the American way of life. Building science and engineering talent is a cumulative process re- quiring commitment and participation over time, but beginning now, of all elements government, industry, education, the media, the public, everyone. We need to engage all these elements to create critical mass, which is what is needed for action and progress. And so since I am addressing the choir, since I am a member of the choir I urge you to sing, and to sing loudly, to sing in harmony, and to sing long. We need all our voices. Thank you.

OCR for page 203
Joseph S. Toole Associate Administrator for Professional Development Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation INTRODUCTION America's transportation workforce has become a major issue for all facets of industry. Faced with a shrinking pool of qualified workers, the public and private sectors have begun to advance a variety of strategies focused on dealing with this critical problem. Because all of these entities are competing with each other for the same pool of candidates, there is a clear need to advance strategies in a coordinated and comprehensive man- ner to address the workforce issue. There is a particular concern and focus on the need for scientists and engineers in developing the workforce. Engineering is at the core of the industry's ability to design and deliver the nation's transportation sys- tem. It is also clear that an increasing dependence on technological ad- vancements in transportation will be necessary to keep pace with the country's growing demand for mobility, and science and engineering will make a critical contribution to that technological innovation. Many factors impact the industry's ability to recruit qualified indi- viduals into the workforce. A critical issue is the increasing competition among professions for skilled workers. Today, individuals have a broad range of options available to them including positions in the information technology, health, and environmental industries. Overall, this means there is a decreasing pool of skilled workers available to the transporta- tion industry. The industry is also changing. The new transportation real- ity requires technical and managerial skills, and abilities beyond tradi- tional backgrounds.

OCR for page 203
PAN-~CANIZAHONAL SUMMIT Many organizations and individuals have attempted to address the workforce issue in transportation. National associations have embarked on programs specifically designed to attract individuals into the workforce. These efforts have enjoyed modest success, but not to the ex- tent that they have put in place permanent solutions to the problem. More must be done, and greater industry-wide efforts must be embraced. To address the critical issue of transportation workforce development, the U.S. Department of Transportation hosted the National Workforce Sum- mit in May 2002 during National Transportation Week. Transportation lead- ers representing federal and state transportation agencies, academia, indus- try, labor unions, professional associations, and consulting firms participated in the program. The National Workforce Summit was the first ever, fully coordinated workforce initiative focused on developing the people necessary to preserve and advance our nation's transportation system. FRAMING THE CHALLENGE U.S. Department of Transportation deputy secretary Michael P. lackson noted that the industry as a whole faces serious challenges of an aging workforce win the potential of more than 50 percent of the transportation workforce eligible to retire in 5 to 15 years. Mr. lackson commented that coop- eration and creative partnerships win educational and academic institutions; professional organizations; and state, local, and international transportation agencies are the key to effectively addressing Me transportation workforce chal- lenge. The deputy secretary referred to the process as "building the pipeline," which has become a metaphor for addressing workforce issues. Deputy Secretary lackson also participated in a discussion with in- dustry leaders concerning their perspectives on the transportation workforce issue. Participants identified institutional concerns that the in- dustry must overcome if it is to find and retain effective employees: Potential employees don't perceive transportation as an attractive, rewarding career option. The industry is burdened with an "engineers-only" image that con- tradicts the wide range of technical and managerial skills necessary to operate successful transportation organizations. Transportation agencies offer inadequate career development oppor- tunities, which makes it difficult to retain qualified employees at all levels. DATA NEEDS One obstacle is the lack of workforce data. Cinde Weatherby Gilliland, senior project manager/Transit and Transportation Planning for URS

OCR for page 203
Corporation, reviewed research concerning the challenges facing the transportation workforce. The General Accounting Office (GAO) views the projected human capital shortfall as providing serious programmatic problems and risks for the industry. In addition to the anticipated loss of the industry's technical expertise in the next five years, data indicate that 71 percent of federal career senior executive service workers will be eli- gible for retirement by 2005. Transportation Research Board (TRB) data research reinforce the GAO data, citing institutional constraints, human resources, and an aging population as critical issues. To further empha- size the changing face of the industry, TRB also sees computer support specialists as the greatest occupational area for growth, predicted to in- crease by 97 percent. By comparison, the projected change for civil engi- neers is 10 percent, while occupational growth for environmental engi- neers is expected to increase 26 percent. Gilliland concluded by pointing to the lack of real numbers of transportation workers compared to need (demand), and the number of projected workers (supply). OPPORTUNITIES FOR INTERVENTION Cheri Marti, assistant director for the Minnesota Local Technical As- sistance Program/Center for Transportation Studies, and who chairs an ad hoc Workforce Framework Group, reported on the group's work to date. The group has identified important societal and cultural factors af- fecting the decision-making process about career choices. Members also developed a life-cycle continuum, a graphic that identifies opportunities for intervention to create awareness, influence choice, and "brand" trans- portation as an attractive career goal. The continuum reinforces the neces- sity to create learning paths for fundamental skills that also satisfy workforce needs. In addition, statistics indicate that two thirds of employ- ees change occupations during their work life. This information reinforces the need to look beyond the entry-level employee and include recruiting midlevel professionals as a workforce strategy to capture the richness of professional experience. Marti also emphasized the need to promote a collaborative and coordinated approach to address the issue throughout the transportation industry. ADMINISTRATORS' PERSPECTIVES ON THE WORKFORCE CHALLENGE Three U.S. Department of Transportation administrators participated in the Summit: Ellen G. Engleman, administrator for the Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA); lennifer L. Dorn, federal transit administrator; and Mary E. Peters, federal highway administrator.

OCR for page 203
PAN-~CANIZAHONAL SUMMIT Ms. Engleman noted that, whether we move goods, people, or infor- mation, transportation is the pipeline to the nation's prosperity. lennifer Dorn commented that three principles should guide the initiative: (1) all recruitment is personal, it requires individuals who can motivate and in- spire others; (2) knowing how to think is more important than knowing what to think, a multidisciplinary approach is necessary; and (3) flexibil- ity can be difficult, but it's not impossible; organizations must pilot new approaches and identify new ways to engage and reward those in the system. Mary Peters supported the need to help young people understand that they can have a role in making change happen in their communities. Education is key, but educating the transportation workforce requires a variety of skills and disciplines in the new transportation environment. ISSUES AND PRIORITIES The Summit participants focused on three critical components of transportation workforce development: Workforce Pipeline: identify new opportunities and approaches to ensure a trained, motivated, and diverse workforce to deliver transporta- tion programs. Training and Professional Development: characterize processes to ensure that transportation workers are able to apply new technologies and bring new skills to effectively manage projects in a more demanding work environment. Institutionalize Workforce Development: improve and coordinate training and development programs industry-wide by institutionalizing procedures and resources to prepare a skilled, technically proficient, and motivated workforce. These themes reflected an awareness that the workforce development effort needs to reach beyond current efforts and be more strategically ori- ented in addressing the issues. While there was a desire on the part of the public agency, private sector, organized labor, and academia representa- tives to develop a workforce strategy, there was also a definite call for the U.S. Department of Transportation to exercise its leadership, particularly as a convener and an advocate. WORKFORCE PIPELINE Participants focused on the multidisciplinary aspects of transportation and the need to develop communication and marketing strategies that speak to potential, current, and retired employees throughout their educa-

OCR for page 203
lion and professional lives. Working with the life-cycle continuum graphic, the group identified the problem as both supply and demand, highlighting the need to involve industry, locally led partnerships, and academic institu- tions at all levels throughout the process. Participants noted that the pipe- line analogy was perhaps too rigid, that in reality it was much more porous because employees tend to move in and out of the system. They reinforced the need and value of lifelong learning that welcomes a diverse workforce competent in an array of academic disciplines and technical skill levels. The group identified the need for industry partners to coordinate closely with educational institutions K-12, technical schools, community colleges, and universities to raise the awareness of transportation as a rewarding ca- reer. These cooperative programs must be complemented with an aggres- sive marketing and outreach campaign to create excitement about trans- portation careers beyond the traditional engineering focus. The challenges to the group's recommendations involve identifying current partners and leaders to champion the effort. Additionally, while the participants focused on the need for lifelong learning and professional development, they are concerned about the current workforce and its abil- ity to meet the demands of a changing transportation environment. There was a feeling among the Summit participants that it would take a sus- tained commitment on the part of the transportation community to assure that the youth of today are attracted to the transportation jobs of the fu- ture. Specifically, this included stronger partnerships with educational systems to reach students in K-12; a concerted effort to show the contributions that transportation makes to society, the career opportunities transportation offers, and the importance of transportation to the United States; development of an integrated program of outreach activities that would support students through ongoing activities (e.g., awareness pro- grams that might lead to internship opportunities, which would lead to scholarships); and a much greater tie between the transportation community and uni- versities, colleges, and community colleges to support transportation-re- lated programs, and the need for the transportation and education com- munities to be much more proactive in attracting students into transportation. TRAINING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Group members considered better ways to invest in skills develop- ment and training of transportation agency employees. They agreed that

OCR for page 203
PAN-~CANIZAHONAL SUMMIT professional development encompassed more than traditional training and should include mentoring programs and other opportunities avail- able throughout the industry. They noted that training needs must re- spond to the organization's core competencies and ensure that the em- ployee and the organization benefit from the instruction. Participants also recognized the need to modernize organizational structures so that they can respond more quickly and accurately to employee training needs. There was also a focus on the need to cultivate a public/private part- nership to foster cooperative programs and activities. These partnerships should also help develop a consistent definition of transportation training objectives and outcomes, and promote the need for broad training that incorporates both professional and technical skills. For example, an engi- neer must be able to explain projects and schedules to communities af- fected by transportation projects. There was a recognition that there needs to be continuing investment in the transportation workforce to (1) assure workers are using the latest technologies and practices to improve trans- portation, (2) better equip the workforce to meet the challenges of today, and (3) help attract and retain the best and brightest workers for the fu- ture. Approaches would include: developing a clearinghouse of transportation-related training, edu- cational and developmental programs that can be shared and used by the entire community; developing programs that use the latest training and development technologies (e.g., Web-based training, distance learning) to make train- ing more accessible and effective; investing in existing programs that have served as successful mechanisms for providing new skill development in the transportation sector; and finding ways to support programmatic and cultural changes in the transportation industry that encourage investment in learning and devel- opment. INSTITUTIONALIZING WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT Participants reiterated the need for a coordinated approach to recruit- ing, retaining, and developing the transportation workforce throughout the professional life cycle. With the impending retirement of more than half of the industry's engineering and technical employees, the group dis- cussed the need to encourage those who are retiring to choose partial re- tirement rather than full retirement. They pointed to the number of 55- year-old retirees who are interested in second and third career choices, and the need for organizations to capture their years of experience.

OCR for page 203
There was also agreement that the industry is larger than a single mode, and it requires a broad range of technical and professional skills. Participants regard partnerships with educational institutions and pro- fessional associations as vital to the success of any workforce develop- ment initiative. This includes partnering with the Department of Educa- tion. Participants also discussed the need for accurate, critical data about the transportation workforce. The group linked workforce development with economic development issues, which can be translated into political support. In the short term, these data will be key to reauthorization. In the long term, having a better understanding about the status of the current workforce will help managers project future staffing needs. In addition to data, the participants saw a need for a better, more systematic way to identify best practices across modes. The challenge is to adapt innovations and create new initiatives to address workforce prob- lems. This will require champions from the transportation community who can advocate for resources to support the effort. Advancing initia- tives to the institutional level will require start-up resources and the com- mitment of key decision makers if they are to be linked to agency capital programs. A key to these actions is partnering, and the value of the part- nerships must be reflected in all aspects of the workforce development effort. Likewise, any barriers to such partnerships need to be removed. Specifically, there needs to be an institutional framework for coordinating these efforts and bring- ing the transportation community together to more effectively address the workforce issue, and greater ties between government, industry, and academia to share and pool resources and data for the workforce effort to be truly effective. A NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP The National Workforce Summit was designed to create an industry- wide partnership and foster the cooperative spirit that will carry forum re- sults to implementation. The Summit concluded with each partner trans- portation agencies, industry and association representatives, academics, and union representatives signing a charter: "A Partnership for Educating, Training and Developing the Nation's Transportation Workforce." With this charter, the participants committed their support to an effort that will im- prove workforce development through new initiatives in the academic and transportation communities and may have implications for reauthorization. As a next step in support of the Summit initiative, a steering committee is being formed to guide and coordinate activities and to ensure that they complement government, industry, and academic community efforts.