Nearly half a million information technology jobs went unfilled last year as the computer industry's "war for talent" escalated. That number is expected to surpass a million in two years. And with women accounting for less than 10 percent of the nation's engineering force, there's a pressing need to get girls interested in math and the sciences in middle school and earlier.
As the corporate sponsor of the 50th anniversary of National Engineers Week, IBM helped rally more than 40 corporations, engineering societies and service organizations to the cause. In addition to investing in the campaign, some 40,000 volunteers from IBM and its partners are visiting schools coast-to-coast this week, describing their jobs, putting on demonstrations and serving as role models.
IBM Chairman Louis V. Gerstner Jr., co-chairman of the 2001 campaign, told an audience of youngsters participating in the Future City Competition in Washington, D.C. Wednesday that the United States is not turning out enough scientists and engineers to make the discoveries that will fortify and extend the nation's leadership in technical innovation over the next 25 to 50 years. That, he said, will require thinkers, problem solvers and a new generation of people trained in the disciplines of mathematics and the sciences.
In recognition of the low number of women entering the field, a new element of this year's campaign is "Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day" - a take-off to the popular "Take Your Daughter to Work Day." Organizers say this is the first time a profession has set aside a specific day to attract girls to its ranks.
For more information, visit the National Engineers Week Web site.
usands of engineers fanned out across the United States this week to convince youngsters in grades 7 through 12 that careers in engineering can be fun and rewarding, and ultimately contribute to our nation's competitiveness.