How many new engineers will it take to meet Iowa’s future needs? Quite a few, since 70 percent of the state’s engineers are expected to retire in the next three to eight years. What’s a good way to encourage future engineers? Start young. That’s why ISU Extension is helping the ISU College of Engineering identify Iowa youth with Engineering Talent in Every County (E-TEC).
E-TEC is intended to spark young people’s interest in engineering and encourage them to enroll at Iowa State, graduate and work as engineers, said Monica Bruning, the College of Engineering’s talent expansion director.
One part of E-TEC is a $500 scholarship for high school seniors and transfer students from across Iowa who have declared engineering as their program of study at Iowa State. Interested students are finishing up their applications to meet the March 15 deadline for the fall 2009 scholarships, Bruning said. Approximately 70 E-TEC scholarships will be awarded each year, sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
But far beyond the scholarship, E-TEC focuses on improving engineering career awareness of youth statewide, added Jay Staker, program director for ISU Extension Science, Engineering and Technology (E-SET), which provides science and technology education for Iowa youth.
Finding, encouraging and nurturing budding scientists have been goals of ISU Extension for a number of years. Extension is part of the national 4-H effort to attract 1 million new youth to 4-H science, engineering and technology programs by 2013, Staker continued. “4-H’s existing science curriculum combined with new initiatives like Engineering Talent in Every County will provide youth with the technical skills they’ll need to help the United States maintain its competitive edge in the global marketplace.”
Bruning added, “If we just leverage the programs and help young people — guide them, teach them and encourage them — we will advance all our goals of workforce development and recruitment.”
For more information, visit the E-TEC website.