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Less than 15% of high school graduates in the US want an engineering job. This is because they think that it is too hard, too boring and not a rewarding career.

Globalization has turned the Earth into the Flat Earth. Most people, when they hear this term, think that it has something to do with the medieval theory that the Earth was flat. That is not what the term means in this case. Here it means that globalization has made distance irrelevant. It makes any worker in any country interchangeable with other workers in other countries. This means that jobs in the engineering field will move to countries that make engineering and related jobs a priority.

As it stands in the United States, only about 4% of the jobs are in the engineering field. Studies show that people who hold an engineering job are important for the prosperity of the US. The country needs to have advances in science and engineering to create high-quality jobs that can help with personal and national prosperity and help raise the economy.

In the US, the number of scientist and engineers has dropped drastically over the years. There are many reasons behind this. One is that there is little funding behind research. While the private sector and industry is still inspiring and pushing ideas for innovation, they offer very little funding for the actual research and innovation itself. Instead, the government and universities have become the places where research happens. However, the main funding source for research, the National Science Foundation, only has enough money to fund a small fraction of the proposals that come before them each year.

The question becomes how to encourage a young person to become interested in getting an engineering job. Jobs in the engineering field are vital to driving advancement and research that will allow the US to join in the Flat Earth and the global tech economy instead of slowly slipping off.

The first place to start is in the elementary school system. Norman Augustine, former CEO of Lockheed Martin and an engineer says “It takes a lot of third graders to produce one engineer.” Most high school graduates in the US don’t have the math, or the interest in the higher math necessary to have an engineering job. The first change that needs to happen is to create a greater emphasis on math and science in the US. Globally, the US tests low in these fields among the first world countries.

After that, it is vital to get the research funding back into private sector industry instead of the government and universities. Industry has a larger source of funding for research than the government does. In the 20+ years that research has happened primarily in the public sector, innovation and research has stagnated. As it stagnates there is less demand for engineers and science, and countries that place more emphasis on science and math take the lead in the Flat Earth.

It is necessary to encourage more students to become interested in an engineering job to reverse this trend in the United States. Otherwise, globalization will happen to other countries and US will lose scientists and engineers to other countries.

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