5
Life Long Learning for Engineers

SUMMARY POINTS

  • Continuing education practices in U.S. and Japanese companies reflect differences in employment patterns and in earlier stages of education. For large Japanese companies, lifelong employment is still the expectation. Engineers are typically rotated through a number of functions during their careers, and large companies maintain extensive in-house capabilities for continuing education. Japanese universities are seeking to play a more active role in continuing education, in areas such as developing distance learning programs.

  • There appears to be more variance among U.S. companies in their continuing education practices for engineers. Because of the high level of job mobility in the United States, U.S. companies are not willing to invest as much as Japanese companies in continuing education. With intensified competition and tight staffing practices, it has become even more difficult to maintain these investments.

  • At many large, high-technology U.S. companies, there are defined career paths for engineers who wish to stay in technical positions rather than go into management. Some large U.S. companies maintain extensive in-house programs, but short courses at graduate schools, new institutions such as the National Technological University, and other mechanisms are also used.

  • In both Japan and the United States, it appears that small and medium-sized companies may face challenges in providing sufficient continuing education opportunities to engineering staff.

U.S. AND JAPANESE CONTEXT FOR ENGINEERING CAREERS

This section provides an overview of the basic environment for engineering careers and continuing education in the United States and Japan. 1Table 5-1 shows some differences in the experiences and attitudes of U.S. and Japanese engineers who graduated from top schools: MIT and University of Tokyo. Although the subjects of this survey may not be typical of U.S. and Japanese working engineers, the survey does quantify some general differences between the two countries.

U.S. Context

Economic Context

Several factors have influenced the rise and fall in demand for U.S. engineers in various industries over the past decade and a half. For example, the significant expansion of high technology nonmanufacturing industries such as software and related services, telecommunications and others has resulted in an increase in the demand for engineers in these



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Engineering Education Tasks for the New Century: Japanese and U.S. Perspectives 5 Life Long Learning for Engineers SUMMARY POINTS Continuing education practices in U.S. and Japanese companies reflect differences in employment patterns and in earlier stages of education. For large Japanese companies, lifelong employment is still the expectation. Engineers are typically rotated through a number of functions during their careers, and large companies maintain extensive in-house capabilities for continuing education. Japanese universities are seeking to play a more active role in continuing education, in areas such as developing distance learning programs. There appears to be more variance among U.S. companies in their continuing education practices for engineers. Because of the high level of job mobility in the United States, U.S. companies are not willing to invest as much as Japanese companies in continuing education. With intensified competition and tight staffing practices, it has become even more difficult to maintain these investments. At many large, high-technology U.S. companies, there are defined career paths for engineers who wish to stay in technical positions rather than go into management. Some large U.S. companies maintain extensive in-house programs, but short courses at graduate schools, new institutions such as the National Technological University, and other mechanisms are also used. In both Japan and the United States, it appears that small and medium-sized companies may face challenges in providing sufficient continuing education opportunities to engineering staff. U.S. AND JAPANESE CONTEXT FOR ENGINEERING CAREERS This section provides an overview of the basic environment for engineering careers and continuing education in the United States and Japan. 1 Table 5-1 shows some differences in the experiences and attitudes of U.S. and Japanese engineers who graduated from top schools: MIT and University of Tokyo. Although the subjects of this survey may not be typical of U.S. and Japanese working engineers, the survey does quantify some general differences between the two countries. U.S. Context Economic Context Several factors have influenced the rise and fall in demand for U.S. engineers in various industries over the past decade and a half. For example, the significant expansion of high technology nonmanufacturing industries such as software and related services, telecommunications and others has resulted in an increase in the demand for engineers in these

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Engineering Education Tasks for the New Century: Japanese and U.S. Perspectives TABLE 5-1 Comparison of Career Experiences of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Tokyo Engineering Graduates, 1993   MIT Tokyo Have never changed companies in career 29.8% 83.8% Most desired career path have own company (25.7%) climb the organizational ladder (40.2%) Defense-related job 14.9%   0.9% Technology-related job 54.8% 67.8% Manufacturing-related job   5.0% 12.1% NOTE: The survey was sent to engineering graduates from both schools for years 1960, 1970, 1980, and 1985. SOURCES: Compiled from Masamichi Ishii, Yoshiko Yokoo, and Yukihiro Hirano, “Comparative Study on Career Distribution and Job Consciousness of Engineering Graduates in Japan and the U.S.,” NISTEP Study Material, No. 28, March 1993. industries.2 In the mid 1990s, the gains in competitiveness made by U.S. companies in industries such as automobiles led to a renewed demand for engineers. At the same time, defense budget cuts have led to layoffs of engineers at defense companies. This has led to growing interest in alternative careers for engineers from defense industries.3 Corporate Context for Continuing Engineering Education in Industry Since job mobility is high among U.S. engineers, companies are reluctant to invest large amounts of resources in training and continuing education. Education is considered a benefit rather than an investment in essential capabilities. In tough times, education budgets are among the first to be cut. Also, there is a wide variety of engineering education practices among U.S. companies. Some large companies have extensive in-house programs and provide educational benefits such as time off and support to pursue outside training, while others do not.4 Smaller companies and consulting firms are generally unable to provide in-house training, and are financially constrained from offering educational benefits. Competitive Context for the Content of Continuing Engineering Training Particularly in U.S. manufacturing companies that have had to cope with competition from rivals in Japan and elsewhere, a significant focus of attention and resources for training has been in the adaptation of methodologies associated with the Toyota production system and other “pull-based” manufacturing systems, such as just-in-time inventory management, total quality management, concurrent engineering and others. Within manufacturing companies, the demand

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Engineering Education Tasks for the New Century: Japanese and U.S. Perspectives for engineers with advanced degrees to engage in engineering development linked with manufacturing has increased significantly.5 Expected Competencies of Engineers Entering the Company U.S. engineers entering companies are expected to have acquired from their university training: “an understanding of fundamental scientific principles…command of basic knowledge…an understanding of engineering methods…experience in applying these methods…an understanding of social and economic forces and their relationship with engineering systems…a sense of professional responsibility…mastery of the ability to organize and express ideas (and)…socialization in the thought patterns and conduct appropriate to the profession.”6 Clearly, this list implies a facility to solve problems, which is a major expectation of employers. At a concrete level, engineers are expected to have a considerable amount of experience and competence with computers. Institutions and Trends There is widespread recognition of the growing need for engineers and the organizations that employ them to create a new engineering culture that encourages lifelong learning.7 As noted above, U.S. companies vary widely in their approaches, and the overall patterns of investment in continuing education of U.S. engineers cannot be accurately tracked. Other institutions are seeking to fill the demand for continuing education for engineers, including the engineering societies. The National Technological University (NTU) is an important example. NTU delivers classes from major engineering schools by satellite to working professionals in industry. NTU and Motorola University, Motorola's extensive in-house program, have been cited as U.S. “best practices” in this field.8 In the future, it is likely that new technologies such as the Internet and interactive video will have a significant impact on continuing education for engineers. DeVry Inc. is another interesting example of an institution that has grown to fill the educational needs of U.S. engineers and would-be engineers who must rely on their own resources and initiative. DeVry was founded in 1931 as a mail-order, electronics repair school, and now operates a network of 27 for-profit business and technical schools with a faculty of 850 nationwide.9 Other Characteristics of U.S. Engineers Although the proportion of female engineers in the United States doubled during the 1980s, the profession is still 92 percent male. Except for Asians, who are overrepresented in U.S. engineering, ethnic and racial minorities are underrepresented, although numbers have been rising. For example, among U.S. educated engineering Ph.D. holders in the labor force in 1993, less than 2 percent were African American and less than 2 percent were Hispanic, but over 25 percent were Asian. 10

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Engineering Education Tasks for the New Century: Japanese and U.S. Perspectives Japanese Context Economic Context In recent years, a number of Japanese government and private sector reports have expressed concern about falling levels of interest in engineering careers among young people. Although, on the whole, Japanese university engineering departments continue to attract many more applicants every year than they are able to accept, there is a continuing trend of a decrease in the ratio of applicants to acceptances. The increasing number of engineering graduates who chose careers in financial services rather than manufacturing was also raised by some as a concern in the early 1990s. However, this trend seems to have been halted by the continuing tough times in Japan's financial services sector. Corporate Context for Continuing Education in Industry Although job mobility in Japan has increased in recent years and is expected to continue rising moderately in the future, in large manufacturing companies, lifetime employment is still the expectation of both companies and engineers. This provides a context in which investments in training and education can be recovered by the company. Most large companies have extensive in-house continuing education programs. The Japanese Working Group reports that these are largely being maintained despite the long recession in Japan. Another traditional element of Japanese engineering is the emphasis on teamwork. Much of the in-house training that occurs early in the careers of engineers and other new hires is designed to build group consciousness and the effectiveness of teamwork. Teamwork training in Japan begins in K-12 and continues in the university. Expected Competencies of Engineers Entering the Company Japanese students entering one of the more prestigious engineering schools typically possess knowledge equivalent to a U.S. college sophomore in math, physical science and written language.11 Despite this head start, young engineers entering Japanese companies are not expected by their employers to have acquired understanding of engineering methods. Institutions and Trends A number of Japanese universities are developing new programs for continuing education and are experimenting with distance learning. 12 Japanese universities are seeking to play a greater role in continuing education for engineers, but task force discussions indicate that Japanese companies are skeptical about whether universities can be as effective as in-house programs. Although several national and private universities have launched night graduate schools in recent years, the focus has been on professional master's programs in areas such as public policy studies, management information systems and counseling.13 Japanese task force members also raised concerns about engineers employed by smaller companies, whose continuing education needs appear to be underserved. A 1990 survey by the Japan Federation of Employers Association, or Nikkeiren, found that 35.4 percent of firms reported that they were too busy to find time for continuing education for employees.14 The survey also shows that Japanese companies spend about the same amount on professional development per employee for engineers as they do for marketing staff.

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Engineering Education Tasks for the New Century: Japanese and U.S. Perspectives Another U.S.-Japan contrast lies in the role of professional certification for engineers.15 As in the United States, certification is more important in construction, architecture and building engineering. In contrast to the United States, where professional certification is regulated by the states, several of Japan's central government ministries regulate the process. In 1995 only 32,000 engineers, including 69 foreigners, held a Gijutsushi license, which is useful when opening a consulting office.16 Other Characteristics of Japanese Engineers Japan's largely homogenous population means that there is even less diversity among Japanese engineers than is the case in the United States. Therefore, Japanese engineers may have less opportunity to work with other engineers with significantly different backgrounds and perspectives. U.S.-JAPAN COMPARISON OF ENGINEERING CAREERS AND CONTINUING EDUCATION EXPERIENCES. This section compares typical engineering careers and continuing education experiences in U.S. and Japanese companies. To supplement the broad general discussion, the task force was fortunate to be able to examine the approaches of Xerox Corporation and Fuji Xerox. 17 Although the two companies design, develop, and manufacture similar hardware and technology, engineering careers and continuing education experiences can differ significantly. This specific comparison reveals a number of general differences in continuing education for engineers between the two countries. Figure 5-1 shows the expected career paths of engineers at Xerox and Fuji Xerox. The differences start with the attitudes and expectations of employer and employee as new engineers enter the company. The primary goal of new engineering graduates entering Xerox is to obtain skills and experience, which are critical for enhancing their market value both inside and outside the company. By contrast, the Japanese engineering graduate views entering Fuji Xerox as the beginning of a life-long relationship. Figure 5-1 Typical Xerox and Fuji Xerox engineering career paths. SOURCE: Xerox and Fuji Xerox.

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Engineering Education Tasks for the New Century: Japanese and U.S. Perspectives Early Career Training General Issues Most U.S. engineers hired out of college and employed by U.S. companies spend their first few years working under the supervision of a senior engineer and performing specific tasks in areas like product development or process design. Skills needed to meet deadlines, work in teams and manage projects are learned on the job without much formal in-house training. Many engineers begin taking post-graduate courses after work if their employer provides support. Particularly valuable in learning are mentoring relationships with senior engineers. U.S. companies are very diverse in the approaches that they use. Compared to U.S. companies, the training approaches of large Japanese companies for early career engineers are extensive, systematic and quite similar across companies and industries. Training for new hires typically begins with several months of general training on the various operations of the company. Once Japanese engineers are assigned to a specific product development, research or manufacturing section, they sometimes go through a process of one-to-one training in which they are assigned to various engineers in the section for a period of one or two weeks each. On-the-job training is supplemented by course work in in-house educational programs and “small group activities” aimed at improving group performance and productivity. Box 5-1 describes NEC's in-house programs. Much of the in-house training that occurs early in the careers of engineers and other new hires is designed to build group consciousness and the effectiveness of teamwork. Xerox Early Career Training Xerox Corporation hires engineers into one of three major career areas: Research, Product Development or Manufacturing. Training of new graduates varies for each of these areas as business needs change. The general orientation at Xerox consists of a day long session where representatives from various departments explain their role in the engineer's future. Much of the orientation consists of fulfilling various administrative tasks, such as filling in forms and learning about company benefits. In addition, all Xerox engineers are required to take a one week course in Xerox quality principles and processes, known as Leadership through Quality. In the 1980s Xerox recognized the need to build stronger links between product development engineers and end customers, as well as to heighten awareness of the manufacturing environment where their product designs would be realized. The goals of “design for manufacturability and serviceability” were to reduce service and manufacturing costs and to increase quality while reducing time to market. Engineers from various disciplines were trained in a one-year Engineering Development Program (EDP). The EDP began with a full week of instruction on Xerox Corporation, Xerography technology, and Xerox quality principles with emphasis on customer satisfaction. This was followed by a three month field service assignment that pairs each engineer with a service district. Engineers were provided with hands-on experience in product service and customer interface. The service assignment was followed by a nine month assignment in a manufacturing facility. EDP graduates participated in a job fair for the open entry level engineering positions, since job assignments under this recruitment structure were not identified at the time of hire. Although all new hire engineers did not go through the entire EDP process, the majority participated in one or more phases.

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Engineering Education Tasks for the New Century: Japanese and U.S. Perspectives Box 5-1 Continuing Education Programs at NEC Corporation NEC Corporation maintains extensive continuing education programs, particularly for engineers. The NEC Institute of Technology Education was established in 1979, has a full-time staff of less than 20 and an additional 20 on concurrent assignments as steering committee members. Since 1979, there have been three principal study programs: Integrated Technology Study Program (ITSP) ITSP is a one-year general program aimed at broadening the knowledge of engineers in their chosen field who have been in the company for at least two years. Students dedicate one day a week to the program. Courses include communication technology, information processing (hardware, software), systems engineering, semiconductor device technology, and mechatronics. Principal Technology Study Program (PTSP) PTSP is designed to strengthen the ability of engineers who have been in the company for at least five years to develop new products. It is a year-long program, with students spending one half day every two weeks in class for the first six months and preparing a thesis during the second six months. Courses offered during a recent session included micro-fabrication technology, pattern recognition technology, object-oriented software, and information network technology. Relevant Technology Study Program (RTSP) RTSP consists of a variety of technology-specific courses ranging from three days to one year and is targeted at a broad range of engineers, from new hires to section chiefs. Recent study themes included LSI designs, artificial intelligence (AI) systems, and space navigation systems. Recently, NEC Institute of Technology Education was reorganized to become NEC University, integrated together with other in-house educational institutions. The University will deliver and support continuing education programs, including synchronous and asynchronous distance learning for various domestic and overseas subsidiaries. SOURCE: NEC Corporation. Xerox revamped its training approach in the early 1990's, as it restructured into smaller, more autonomous business divisions focused on specific markets. For example, the EDP program was dropped. Engineering teams and supporting human resource development organizations were split to support the business division structure. As a result, orientation and early career training have become more varied between divisions. More recently, Xerox is reevaluating this decentralized approach, which has produced engineers with 5 to 10 years of tenure with diverse skills and training experiences. There is a growing recognition that some degree of centralized engineering training activity and common core skill requirements across divisions is valuable. However, continuing organizational

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Engineering Education Tasks for the New Century: Japanese and U.S. Perspectives change—the only constant in today's U.S. industry environment—makes defining and implementing such a “core skills” approach increasingly difficult. When an engineer is first assigned to a work group or team at Xerox, training is loosely structured and may include the assignment of one or more senior engineers to mentor and assist the new team member. The first few weeks are spent learning the relevant designs and processes, visiting the various management forums and labs, and simply observing. The engineer is assigned to assist a more senior engineer on a current project or may be assigned a small project. Although the assignments in the three career areas mentioned above vary dramatically, team dynamics are crucial in all. It is here that the engineer will develop the necessary scientific skills and day-to-day administrative skills that will be crucial for future success. Many of the lessons learned during the first year or so will be taught by the work group. Each member of the group will be a role model and resource for the new employee. It is through this interaction with established members of the community that the new engineer gains confidence and experience. Relevant training and continuing education during this time period are specific to the career area chosen. For example, manufacturing engineers are given courses in safety, quality control, and parts/supplies management, while product development engineers are given courses in product development processes and design methodology. Priority is given to training directly relevant to the job and product area to which the engineer has been assigned. Training is not generic across Xerox and varies at the discretion of the product manager and the engineer. Although all Xerox employees are encouraged to take a minimum of two courses per year in career development (this is tracked and managed via the annual objective management processes) it is not atypical for engineers to double or triple this objective in the first three to five years of their careers. As their skills and experience increase, young engineers begin to emerge as individual contributors to the group. After three to four years, they are prepared to take on additional responsibilities such as leadership of small tasks. As a project or task leader the engineer has greater autonomy and a strong role in the group's viability. This role usually includes directing or mentoring junior engineers, technicians and designers. Fuji Xerox Early Career Training At Fuji Xerox the idea of orientation encompasses a much broader introduction to the company than does the typical U.S. company orientation. The process takes three months to complete and involves exposure to many areas of the company. In the first month, all new corporate hires, including engineers, reside at the training center and study the company. They learn about Fuji Xerox's history, organizational structure, products in production, and marketing strategies. They also take part in problem solving and teamwork exercises and training. After this overview, new employees are deployed to specific manufacturing areas for one month. They may work on an assembly line, in distribution, or perhaps in a warehouse. This experience allows each new hire to gain valuable exposure to the products. The final month of orientation brings the new employee face to face with the customer. A sales representative will act as a mentor for a small number of new employees. The mentor takes the group to meet customers and helps them understand the customer's requirements and concerns. At the end of the orientation period, each engineer is assigned to an organization by the Human Resources Department and begins on-the-job training (OJT). It is important to note that this is not a job assignment, the engineer has simply been named to a certain organization. At Fuji Xerox, OJT is formalized as a one year assignment. Every entering engineer is matched with a trainer or mentor. This mentor is usually a mid-level engineer with five to ten

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Engineering Education Tasks for the New Century: Japanese and U.S. Perspectives years of experience. During their year together the new employee helps the mentor do their job, while the mentor teaches the new employee the tools necessary to do the job. Along with the technical exchange, a large component of learning involves interaction with other members of the organization. This contact will help the new employee when a tentative job is assigned at the end of OJT. After three years on the job, the Fuji Xerox engineer will usually become a small group sub-leader. As a part of this transition the employee takes part in two weeks of mandatory non-technical training. This training will concentrate on essential leadership qualities. The position of group sub-leader will afford the employee the chance to develop leadership skills slowly, while continuing to enhance his technical expertise. The Five to Fifteen Year Professional General Issues Even after they have achieved the status of established members of the technical community of their respective companies, Japanese and U.S. engineers still differ with regard to their responsibilities and roles. At Xerox Corp., for example, engineers are typically responsible for concept, analysis, and the necessary administrative steps for getting a component from the designer's drawings into the manufacturing process. By contrast, engineers at Fuji Xerox have a broader range of responsibilities. A typical engineer will do his or her own design and testing. Engineers are responsible for the concept, analysis, and ultimately manufacturing. For the Fuji Xerox engineer, a solid knowledge of technology, cost management, and manufacturing technology is a must. After five years, about half the entering cohort of engineers at a typical large U.S. company has moved on to a different company or left to pursue graduate training. At this point engineers still with their original companies are typically assessing whether they want to stay in a technical track or move to a management track. Apart from tuition reimbursement, it does not appear that corporate investments in continuing education are large during the first five years. Engineers themselves are largely responsible for planning their own careers and acquiring necessary skills. As time passes, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain current engineering skills, which gives companies a high incentive to move experienced engineers into management rather than retrain them for purely technical responsibilities. Many companies have created parallel ladders to allow engineers to receive substantial promotions and raises without entering management. While engineers can receive good starting salaries, salary growth tends to slow after ten years if they stay in engineering. In 1992, for example, median salary for an engineer with a master's degree and ten years of experience was $53,400, but only $64,850 for 25 years of experience.18 In contrast to the United States, where the tendency is for individuals to bear the greatest responsibility for career planning and determining training needs, Japanese companies take on more responsibility for career development. After five years the Japanese engineer has mastered the specific engineering tasks and issues in the section and is looking forward to his first promotion and job rotation. In some industries, such as computers and semiconductors, promising new hires are typically assigned to product development. After they have mastered the relevant technology and are experienced with the product, they are often rotated to the manufacturing plant that produces the product that they have designed. After several years in manufacturing, engineers are often assigned to work in

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Engineering Education Tasks for the New Century: Japanese and U.S. Perspectives marketing and service functions, with their performance in these areas enhanced by their knowledge of the product. Most Japanese engineers are expected to move into some form of management as they advance through the company. Typically, after 7–8 years, an engineer will be promoted to kakaricho, responsible for supervising 5–10 others. In the mid to late thirties engineers are promoted to kacho, or section chief. Promotion to bucho, or division chief, typically occurs in one's late forties. Japanese companies also use study leaves as a professional development tool.19 This involves selection of key personnel between the ages of about 25 to 35 for dispatch to a university, research institute, or another company as a visiting scholar or researcher for periods of up to several years. This mechanism is rarely utilized by U.S. companies. Xerox Practices and Experience. In the United States, the question of whether to pursue a managerial career or stay in a technical path arises early. Most U.S. companies maintain “dual ladder” systems. Still, in Xerox as in many other U.S. companies, there are a number of pressures on engineers to pursue a managerial path. Long-term career opportunities for the generalist far exceed those available for technical specialists. Although ascendancy as a technical expert is possible, there are fewer opportunities as promotional grades climb, and compensation lags for technical specialists with equivalent years of employment. Given the low number of opportunities for technical specialists, the qualifications, in terms of experience and education, are significant. In the six to eight year range, a Xerox engineer may be given responsibility for an entire sub-system. As a sub-system leader, the engineer will lead a team and oversee all aspects of the sub-system. At about ten years the engineer faces the decision of whether to remain a technical contributor or to proceed on the managerial track, an issue discussed further below. Although job rotation is not formalized within Xerox, most projects have a life cycle of 3–5 years. Engineers have the opportunity to move to new areas of development, design or manufacturing at the conclusion of the project or after some mutually agreed milestone. Outstanding Xerox engineers may be promoted to management after about ten years. Several years prior to this, the engineer begins preparatory coursework. It is during this time frame that engineers begin to select the path of management or technical specialist. One concrete issue is whether the engineer should pursue an MBA degree to complement his or her technical skills. Skills and technical courses are widely available at Xerox through video courses, on-site courses at local universities, as well as in-house training programs. Prior to the advent of a focused re-engineering effort at Xerox, however, the technical training, averaged over the whole population, was probably only in the range of 2–3 days per employee annually. The engineer desiring management experience will seek to gain experience managing small projects and giving direction to a group of engineers. Course study varies from formal in-house management development courses, to pursuit of graduate degrees (MBA, MS, Technical Management). Those focusing on becoming technical experts seek more challenging and complex systems and designs with more opportunity for innovation and invention. Course study focuses on specialized technical areas of interest, conference attendance and seminars. Graduate and/or doctoral degrees may be pursued to complete their technical portfolio and further establish their expertise. Those engineers who fail to plan may maintain skills relevant for their current jobs, but may be unprepared to ascend as technical specialists or technical managers. There are two specific branches of technical management. One can achieve up to middle management levels as an area or discipline manager. The opportunities are more lucrative,

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Engineering Education Tasks for the New Century: Japanese and U.S. Perspectives however, for those broadening their experience set to comprehend product and system integration. The Chief Engineer and Technical Program Manager are required to possess a practitioner level of knowledge in the key process areas of systems engineering, system design or architecture, design or module integration, system or product assurance, and operability. Systems engineering is a learned discipline requiring a foundation in a core engineering discipline supplemented by experience in each of the key process areas (manufacturing, marketing) through rotational assignments. Fuji Xerox Fuji Xerox has approximately 15,000 employees, of whom about 5,600 are engineers. About 4,000 of these engineers are considered to be specialists. Fuji Xerox invests 330 million yen per year in continuing education on this group of 4,000 (about 82,000 yen per engineer). There are ten full-time staff members devoted to engineering education with responsibility for planning, preparation, management, and supervision. Fuji Xerox also maintains an in-house training facility. Engineers enrolled in classes reside at the facility. In 1994, Fuji Xerox engineers spent a total of 11,000 days on engineering training. Across Fuji Xerox, all employees spent a total of 76,000 days receiving training. Fuji Xerox offers two types of continuing education courses for engineers. The first type includes “common” or general courses that are offered to all salaried employees by the Fuji Xerox Learning Institute (FXLI). Topics for these general courses include management skills, approach to quality circles (small group activities aimed at improving quality), financial management and personnel regulations. In addition, technology-oriented courses are offered by the Technical Human Resources Department. These include management engineering (encompasses industrial engineering, quality circles, “value engineering,” and cost management), computer skills (including new software packages, firmware, and computer-aided design), chromatics, and Xerography engineering. Over 2,000 Fuji Xerox engineers per year take a technology specific course. Employees stay at the in-house training facility for classroom sessions and experimental work. Each division in Fuji Xerox has an education promotion committee which announces and promotes education programs. Course guides provided by the Technical Human Resources Department are available to all employees in electronic form. Course selection is based on the engineer's interest and guidance from his manager, taking experience and career plans into account. Lecturers and trainers are mainly drawn from the Fuji Xerox engineering staff, although the engineering education department also has a few full-time lecturers. Engineers at Fuji Xerox are generally given greater responsibility after roughly five years. At this point, engineers are given two weeks of mandatory training to prepare them for their responsibilities as group leader. Every two years the Fuji Xerox engineer generates a report for his manager and the Human Resources division that indicates the desired next job. Although rotation is ultimately decided by management, the engineer's request is given weight, and reflects previous informal consultation among the engineer, supervisor and others. In Fuji Xerox approximately 4 percent of engineers per year are rotated to another department to experience development of a different product, manufacturing process or quality control.

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Engineering Education Tasks for the New Century: Japanese and U.S. Perspectives Later Career Trends After 10 or 15 years of experience, it appears that investments in continuing engineering education drop off for most companies and most engineers, in both the United States and Japan. For the experienced Xerox engineer still remaining on the technical career path the last remaining step would be to be named a principal engineer. A minority of the best and most senior engineers will earn this promotion. For engineers who have chosen the managerial path promotions are no longer a matter of seniority alone. The rate of promotion and final level attained are based on a mixture of talent, drive and proven performance. Engineers who have reached the Chief Engineer or Technical Program Management levels may aspire to business management positions, and will seek rotational assignments in marketing, sales or other areas to gain the needed experience. Approximately 30 percent of engineers at Fuji Xerox are officially recognized as experts in a specific area of technology, compared with less than 5 percent at Xerox. Over half of Fuji Xerox engineers move into some form of management such as technical manager, product manager or a staff position. For engineers who have moved into line management or staff positions, management education is more important than engineering education. Although the percentage of engineers entering management is not as high at Xerox as it is at Fuji Xerox, the opportunity set is similar. Management training is a priority at this stage. Although technical currency is also important, knowledge requirements typically fall short of a practitioner level. Those who have moved into technical management require some knowledge and currency on tool sets and processes relevant to their discipline to ensure peak productivity and quality levels from their teams. Those engineering professionals moving into middle management rarely do so without some cross-functional experience. The typical timelines described here for Xerox and Fuji Xerox are for “normal” entry level engineers. Both companies have rather similar advancement paths. The timing of promotions is more defined, however, at Fuji Xerox. An additional similarity exists in the “final” job choice. For both companies moving into management is much more lucrative than remaining on an engineering track. ISSUES Maintaining Technical Currency and Vitality Since engineers in the United States have traditionally been accountable for their own continuing education, they have also recognized ownership of their own technical currency. However, until recently, technical currency has been defined narrowly by many engineers in the context of their current job. In the view of the U.S. working group, the trend toward downsizing by large U.S. companies is forcing many engineers to broaden the context of technical currency to technology that is state of the art across their industry. Engineers are facing the same challenge at a micro level that corporations are facing. Within corporations it is often cheaper to hire new employees with needed skills than retrain the existing workforce. Faced with this dilemma, engineers seeking to maintain technical currency must place equal importance on skills needed for their current job and those in demand on the open market. Rather than expecting to climb the corporate ladder, engineers must maintain a portfolio of skills that they can sell to a series of customers or employers.20

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Engineering Education Tasks for the New Century: Japanese and U.S. Perspectives The cost individually of maintaining technical currency is great. Graduate course study can exceed $3,000 per course. Courses by independent training companies are equally expensive and often require time off during the work day. Given these costs, educational benefits such as tuition reimbursement is one of the most important portions of a company's overall benefit package. Despite changes in the Japanese business environment, this issue of maintaining technical currency is not as urgent for the Japanese engineer. Japanese engineers still expect lifetime employment and assume that the company is largely responsible for continuing education. Japanese engineers rarely leave their companies for graduate school or go to night school at their own expense. Just as individual engineers face the challenge of maintaining their technical currency, U.S. and Japanese companies are faced with maintaining technical vitality. Paul Gehrmann defines the notion of technical vitality as “…acquiring, applying, communicating and creating technical knowledge.”21 Maintaining technical vitality in organizations is becoming more difficult and expensive as technological change accelerates and organizations become flatter and leaner. For Xerox, Fuji Xerox and many other U.S. and Japanese companies, training aimed at allowing engineers to take maximum advantage of information technologies is a major focus of efforts to maintain technical vitality. A related issue faced by established companies is to balance the imperative to incorporate new technologies with the requirement of maintaining and further developing old technologies. In many cases these technologies are core to the business, such as Xerography in the copying business. Engineers are required to become experts in old technologies to assure the maintenance and support of key products. Managing and balancing these needs is difficult, particularly for U.S. companies where engineers need to be prepared to move to a different company. Engineers will be increasingly reluctant to develop skills in older technical areas that may not be valued outside the company. Maintaining technical currency (for individual engineers) and technical vitality (for companies) involves considerable expense. Estimates range from 15 percent of available business time per person to the equivalent of one college course per semester. At this point, it is easier for Japanese companies to make these investments because the long-term interests of the company and individual engineers coincide fairly well. It is more difficult in the United States, since companies are more reluctant to invest in employee training due to greater job mobility than in Japan. The Importance of Diversified Experience Excellent U.S. and Japanese companies agree that diversified experiences are very beneficial for engineers, particularly for those wishing to move into management. Through extensive on-the-job training and rotational assignments, Japanese companies have long focused on exposing engineers to customer interaction and the manufacturing environment. U.S. companies are increasingly aware of the benefits of engineers gaining experience in dealing with customers and with manufacturing. In many businesses, such as information systems, the involvement of engineers in working with clients to specify needs and develop solutions is increasingly essential to a successful project. Lifetime Employment and the Need for Different Perspectives Fuji Xerox and other large companies in Japan have an advantage in being able to design and undertake in-house continuing education programs that strengthen the skills of engineers in

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Engineering Education Tasks for the New Century: Japanese and U.S. Perspectives support of company goals. The lifetime employment system that makes this possible does have a downside, however. There is a danger that the engineering culture of a company may become inbred, stagnant and resistant to change. In recent years, Japanese companies have expressed concern that the Japanese education system and social tradition do not sufficiently promote risk taking and originality among engineers. 22 U.S. and Japanese members agree that younger American engineers generally have more input into decision-making than engineers at a similar age do in Japan. NOTES AND REFERENCES 1 This section relies heavily on Pamela Atkinson, “Continuing Engineering Education in the U.S. and Japan: Exploring Best Practices,” May 1, 1994. 2 Management consulting firms and financial institutions are also becoming major employers of engineering graduates. 3 See Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers, (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1995). 4 Motorola has established a goal for its employees of 40 hours per year of training. Ernest T. Smerdon, “Lifelong Learning for Engineers: Riding the Whirlwind,” The Bridge, Spring/Summer 1996. 5 Arden Bement, “An Industrial Perspective on Engineering Training and Education,” Remarks at the Academies-JSPS Meeting on Scientific and Technological Interdependence: New Challenges for the United States and Japan, 1991. 6 Quoted in Jeffrey Frey, “Japanese Engineering Culture: Dysfunctional?” 7 Smerdon, op. cit. 8 Atkinson, op. cit. 9 Carl Quintanilla, “DeVry Does Its Homework, Expects Degree of Success,” The Wall Street Journal, June 30, 1994. 10 National Science Board, Science and Engineering Indicators-1996 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1996). 11 Sigmund Floyd, “Developing Chemical Engineers in Japan and the United States,” Chemtech, July 1989, p. 418. 12 Yasutaka Shimizu, “Report of the Committee on Refresher Education in the Engineering Fields,” Report Commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture, 1993. 13 Monbusho Koto Kyoiku Kyoku (Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture Higher Education Bureau), “Rifuresshu kyoiku kanren data shu” (Data related to continuing education), March 1995. 14 Reported in Lola Okazaki-Ward, Management Education and Training in Japan (London: Graham & Trotman, 1993). 15 Kaneichiro Imai, “Recent Changes in Engineering Education in Japan,” Paper presented at the American Society for Engineering Education International Conference on Engineering Education and Practice, June 1996. 16 Ibid. By contrast, over 250,000 were Registered Architect and Building Engineers, and 350,000 were Registered Civil Construction and Management Engineers. 17 The Joint Task Force appreciates the work of Task Force member Mark Myers and Xerox engineer Kim Smith in developing this comparative material. 18 Mark Alpert, “The Care and Feeding of Engineers,” Fortune, September 21, 1992. 19 Sam Stern, “Education and Work in Japan: Implications for Policy,” Educational Policy, Vol. IX, No. 2, June 1995, p. 205. 20 Valery Law, “Graduating Engineer: Current Trends in the Entry Level Engineering Job Market,” Speech at the Annual Convocation of Professional Engineering Societies, May 16, 1994.

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Engineering Education Tasks for the New Century: Japanese and U.S. Perspectives 21 Paul Gehrmann, “Technical Vitality of Computer Professionals: A Competitive Advantage of the 90s,” American Programmer, January 1996, Vol. IX, No. 1. 22 Companies are taking a variety of approaches to address this problem. Some have reported success with utilizing foreign engineers as “project leaders” to introduce Japanese employees to new perspectives. See Nihon Seisansei Honbu (Japan Productivity Center), Minkan Kigyo ni okeru Kenkyusha/Gijutsusha no Ikusei oyobi Katsuyo ni kan suru Jitsujo Chosa (Survey on Actual Experience of Private Companies in Training and Utilizing Researchers and Engineers), report commissioned by the Agency for Industrial Science and Technology, March 1994.