As a business owner, you understand the importance of having a well-educated and qualified workforce. Unfortunately, the U.S. appears to be falling further behind in very specific areas which are vital to competing in a global economy.
Today, we face an entirely new challenge, both at home and abroad. Any number of countries in Asia and Europe are educating and training their citizens and competing with — and, in several cases, beginning to surpass — the U.S. for talent to develop new technologies, new cures, new frontiers.
Consider these statistics:
- U.S. students rank 24th in the world in math literacy by the time they get to high school (PISA, 2003).
- The percentage of U.S. high school students interested in majoring in engineering dropped by nearly 35% during 1995 – 2005 (ACT, 2005).
- China is graduating more than four times as many engineers as the United States
- It is predicted that by 2010, more than 90% of all scientists and engineers will live in Asia (Rice Univ., 2003).
In July 2005, 15 prominent business organizations joined together to form “Tapping America’s Potential (TAP) with the goal of doubling the number of science, technology engineering and mathematics graduates by 2015. They summed it up best when they stated, “If we take our scientific and technological supremacy for granted, we risk losing it. What we are lacking at the moment is not so much the wherewithal to meet the challenge, but the will. Together, we must ensure that U.S. students and workers have the grounding in math and science that they need to succeed and that mathematicians, scientists and engineers do not become an endangered species in the United States.”
As business owners, we have a vested interest in the success of our youth, and not just as parents. When possible, getting involved with, sponsoring events, and providing internships that foster their growth and achievement will only benefit us all in the long run.