In order to gain insights about engineering industry needs and to develop strategies to address those needs, two surveys were conducted. The first survey asked engineering industry professionals (N=50) to rate the importance of knowledge, skills, and characteristics needed for success in the field as well as share their perceptions including which industry certifications are most important in the field. The second survey asked engineering educators (N=37) to share challenges they face as educators in the field. They were also asked their thoughts on how to better retain students and make science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) more appealing, what hurdles students face in becoming interested in STEM coursework, and what students want from a STEM degree and coursework. Educators also ranked the importance of specific skills in the workplace and the emphasis placed on those skills in their programs. Finally, they were asked to provide their thoughts on how to better attract female students to the field.
Figure 1: Excerpt from NSF Engineering Educator Survey Results – Question 9
Preliminary data obtained from the Florida TRADE Advanced Manufacturing program support the concept of having more hands-on learning opportunities. Approximately 90 percent of students enrolled in the CNC Machine Operator program successfully completed the courses. Those who did not complete the courses received unsuccessful grades in courses with more lecture-based versus hands-on lab components. In the degree program, the Introduction to Electronics course (more lecture-based) had an average GPA of 3.1 compared to the Motors and Controls course (greater lab content) which had an average GPA of 4.0; both courses are taught by the same instructor.
Figure 2: Excerpt from NSF Engineering Educator Survey Results – Question 3
Many ideas were shared in an open-ended question to about how to better attract female students to the field. Examples of responses include using current female students and female alumni to reach out to potential female students, providing additional mentoring and STEM research opportunities to new and potential students, featuring female engineers in promotional materials, and engaging girls in middle school including with industry professionals and with summer work opportunities.
industry professionals survey including by comparing results. Survey outcomes will be used to inform the development of an instructor guide to help engineering educators better attract and serve students in the engineering technology program and to prepare them for career success. It will also help program administrators make adjustments to their efforts to attract and retain students to the program.
The State of Florida has the third largest population in country, with an official 2020 estimate of 21.5 million persons and approximately 58% of the population is in the civilian labor force (12,600,000).