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FOSTERING FLEXIBILITY IN THE ENGINEERING WORK FORCE Committee on Skill Transferability in Engineering Labor Markets Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel National Academy Press Washington, D.C. 1990

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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Meclic~ne. ~ . . 1 _ _~ ~ . ~ ^ ~- the-Ohm then arr~rHinc~ to This repoIt has been reviewed oy persons v~;~ Unix use auk aver v procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuat~ng society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for He general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Frank Press is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of . . ngmeenng. The Institute of Medicine was established In 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropn ate professions in the examination of policy matters perching to the health of the public. The Institute acts under Me responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Samuel O. Thier is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by Me Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Eng~neenng In providing services to Me government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communizes. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Frank Press and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. This material is based on work supported by the National Academy of Engineenng's Technology Agenda Program. Copies available from: Studies Section Office of Scientific and Engineenng Personnel National Academy of Sciences 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW-Room GR 402 Washington, DC 20418 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 90-61001 International Standard Book Number 0-309-04276-3 Printed in the United States of America First Pnniing, March 1990 Second Pnniing, December 1990

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COMMITTEE ON SKILL TRANSFERABILITY IN ENGINEERING LABOR MARKETS NAE Dale R. Carson, Chair President Emeritus Cornell University NAE W. Dale Compton Gilbreth Distinguished Professor of Indusmal Eng~neenng Purdue University Richard A. Ellis Director of Manpower Studies Amencan Association of Eng~neenng Societies Robert K. Armstrong Manager, Professional Staffing Ed. duPont de Nemours & Co., Inc. Robert C. Dauffenbach Director, Bureau of Business & Economic Research Oklahoma State University NAE John K. Hulm Chief Scientist Westinghouse Electnc Liaison to OSEP Advisory Committee on Series and Analyses NAE Hotel A. Zadeh Department of Computer Sciences University of California - Berkeley Sta~Of~icer Cheryl B. L`eggon . ~ 111 ~ -

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FOREWORD The pace of development of new technology and the rate at which resulting new ~ ~ ~ ~ _ . . ~ . . . . . . . . prc~auc~s ana services enter one marketplace nave oeen steely accelerating since World War H. Moreover, in this period not only markets but also finance, investment, and industry have become increasingly global in nature. Indusmal operations research, design, development, production, dis~but~on, sales, and service support even for single products, now take place with less and less regard for national boundaries. In the global , ~ - r -I ~~~ -~0 economic and industrial complex that is evolving, the engineering enterprise in all nations is constancy challenged to excel in developing and applying new technologies, bringing forth new products and serving new user and societal needs and wants. Thus, in the meetings and forums of the National Academy of Engineering it has been widely recognized that flexibility and adaptability are important qualities for engineers and are destined to be even more important in He future. Yet, although He positive merits of flexibility and adaptability of engineers are generally regarded as obvious, it is not so clear how these qualities can be assessed and how rapid changes over time in both challenges and responses can be tracked. A 1985 National Research Council report* on engineering education and practice in the United States concluded that the United States did have a flexible, adaptable eng~neenng work force as evidenced by the ability of engineers to transfer among diverse disciplines, engineering functions. and industrial sectors. often in activities well removers mom the. theirs In which they were originally educated. This observed flexibility and adaptability of engineers is often attributed to the solid grounding in basic science, mathematics, and eng~neenng fundamentals received by engineers In Heir professional ecluca~aon and no doubt tills may be die most important conmbu~ang factor. But it is not at all clear Hat sound * National Research Council, Engineering Education aru] Practice in the United States, Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1985. v

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basic education, particularly limited to only the first professional degree level attained by the maJonty ot engineers, can entirely account for the flexibility and adaptability of engineers experienced in the past, much less be relied on to meet the greater challenges of the future. It is increasingly apparent that a university education, career-Ion" education personal professional development, and the climate of engineering practice in industry all must contribute to Me creation and maintenance of an engineering work force capable of providing technological and industrial leadership for the nation in a highly competitive global economy. To look at the questions of what might be the changing requirements for the flexibility and adaptability of engineers in the highly competitive global economy and the rapidly changing technologies we face In the future and to examine some of the ways In which these requirements might be met, the NAE asked the National Research Council Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel to undertake this exploratory study. The findings and conclusions illuminate what can be determined *am available data and arrived at by judgments based on past experience as a guide to academic, industry, and government policy. They also indicate some important gaps in our knowledge and understanding of the nature and extent of the future needs for flexibility and adaptability of engineers and of Be measures by which such needs may be met. V1 Alexander H. Flax Home Secretary National Academy of Engineering

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The Committee on Sew Transferability in Engineering Labor Markets appreciates the assistance that it received from a number of individuals. The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) initiated the establishment of this committee. The committee is most grateful for the many contributions made to the development of this exploratory study by NAE staff: Robert M. White, president; Alexander H. Flax, home secretary; Gerald P. D~nneen, foreign secretary; and Bruce Guile and Samuel Rod, director and associate director, respectively, of the NAE Program Office. Alan Fechter, executive director of the Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel (OSEP), provided guidance and helpful counsel throughout the course of the study and cnucal readings of all drafts of the report. Lotfi A. Zadeh, liaison to OSEP's Advisory Committee on Studies and Analyses, contributed critical insight to the committee's deliberations. Cheryl B. L`eggon, staff officer, kept the committee abreast of current research, organized the various committee activities including the workshop convened on September 29, 1989, and wrote the numerous drafts of this report. Michael G. Finn, OSEP director of studies and surveys, provided methodological guidance. Linda S. DO redcoats officer. eciitect this vendor: an] . . ~,~. _ _ , , , ~ ~ Linda Emerson assisted} dunng both the workshop and Be pr~uc~aon of this report. Much of the information presented in dais report was gathered du ing the committee-sponsored Workshop on National Needs and Technological Change: Fostering Flexibility in He Engineering Work Force. The committee appreciates the background materials prepared by the following individuals: Pamela H. Atkinson, University of California-Berkeley; Larry M. Blair, Oak Ridge Associated Universities; Robert C. Dauffenbach, Oklahoma State University; Alan Eck, Bureau of Labor Statistics; Michael G. Finn, OSEP; S au} Gorn, University of Pennsylvania; Cheryl B. Leggon, OSEP; J. S. Watson, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; and David Woodall, Idaho National Laboratory. Special acknowledgment is extended to Peter Cannon, president and chief executive officer of Conductus, Inc., for delivering the charge to the workshop and making insightful _ . . .. - V11

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contributions to the deliberations. The committee thanks the 40 individuals from industry, academe, government, and professional engineering societies who participated in He workshop. Finally, the committee gratefully acknowledges the reviewers, whose comments signif~ca~ntly enhanced the quality of the final report We hope that the efforts of the many individuals involved in this exploratory examination of flexibility in Be eng~neenng work force win clarify the issues and assist OSEP aunt NAE in developing their research agenda for Me next decade. Dale R. Corson Chairman - V111

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CONTENTS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Background Findings Conclusions ~ BACKGROUND 2 WORKSHOP ON NATIONAL NEEDS AND TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE: FOSTERING FLEXIBILITY IN THE ENGINEERING WORK FORCE 3 FINDINGS Adaptability as an Issue Mobility Among the U.S. Engineering Work Force Ph.D.s in Engineering B.S. and M.S. Degrees in Engineering Education and Training Undergraduate Engineering Education Continuing or Lifelong Education and Training Data and Knowledge Bases 4 CONCLUSIONS 5 NEXT STEPS 1X 1 2 4 11 13 13 4 6 6 8 19 20 2s 29 31

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COMMISSIONED PAPERS National Needs and Technological Change: A Background Paper by Check B. Legion The Relevance of Career-Long Education to Creating and Maintaining an AdEaptable Work Force by Pamela H. Atkinson Evidence of Adaptability in the Labor Marketfor Engineers: A Review of Recent Studies by Robert C. Dauffenbach and Michael G. Finn Adaptability of the Engineering Work Force: Information Available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics by Alan Eck Adaptability in Chemical Engineering by I. S. Watson Nuclear Engineering Case Study by David M. Woodall Adapting to Computer Science by S au] Corn x 33 35 53 73 83 113 129 141