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Robert Bosch President Mike Mansuetti, middle, poses with Bosch Technical Scholars prior to speaking at Tri-County Technical College's Annual Report Luncheon.
Robert Bosch President Mike Mansuetti Says STEM Education Is the Key to Our Country’s Economic Prosperity and Success
CONTACT: LISA GARRETT, 646-1506
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 11/5/2013
(By Lisa Garrett)
PENDLETON --- Robert Bosch President Mike Mansuetti says his company is looking to Tri-County Technical College and other colleges and universities to supply graduates with an educational background in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM
STEM education is the key to our country's economic prosperity and success, said Mansuetti, who spoke to a crowd of business, industrial, education, government and political leaders at the College's Annual Report Luncheon. President Ronnie L. Booth distributed copies of the annual report, a 46-page publication that highlights the major College and Foundation accomplishments of 2012 - 2013.
But, he says the lack of students who are entering these fields is reaching a crisis level and must be addressed for the United States to maintain its competitive edge. "It is a problem of epidemic proportions and it threatens our ability to innovate, manufacture and sell products and services in this country. My company, Bosch, is spending considerable resources - in terms of people and dollars - to address it."
Mansuetti noted several factors influencing the crisis. "First, STEM-related jobs are growing but there is not enough trained talent to fill them. Between the years 2008 and 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce predicts there will be 17 percent growth in STEM-related employment as compared to less than 10 percent in other areas. This growth translates into high-paying U.S. jobs," he explained.
Unfortunately, he said, not enough students express interest in pursuing STEM careers, and women and ethnic groups are under-represented. Specifically a Junior Achievement survey of teenagers revealed that only 30 percent of boys and 16 percent of girls expressed an interest in STEM careers.
"In addition to a gender gap, we also have a disparity in terms of ethnic groups who elect to pursue technical careers," he said. In the Latino community, which makes up 16 percent of the overall population, only eight percent earned engineering degrees. African Americans represent 12 percent of the population and only four percent of the engineering degrees, he reported. For Native Americans, who represent about one percent of the population, four-tenths of a percent earned an engineering degree.
Conversely, as STEM careers are expected to grow, less than one third of students who plan to attend college are even interested in these jobs, he said.
"This is a problem, not just for industry, but for society. It will impact our quality of life, and our ability to innovate and manufacture goods and services in this country. Not to mention our ability to purchase them. As you all know, being able to innovate and manufacture goods is a key indicator of a country's economic strength," said Mansuetti.
"It's important to Bosch because having skilled, motivated associates will fuel the continued growth that we are seeing now in the United States - and expect to see - in the coming years. We need talent to foster innovation in the sectors of automotive technology, industrial technology, consumer goods and building technology and energy and building technology."
Mansuetti said Tri-County's new partnership with his company, the Bosch Technical Scholars Program, is an answer to supplying industry with a pipeline of qualified technicians. "Bosch has enjoyed a long and solid history with Tri-County Technical College. We value our partnership with you," he said.
"The Technical Scholars Program is an intense four-month program that is designed to give students a real, on-the-job experience that complements what they are learning in the classroom. During their last semester, the Scholars, who are chosen for our program, are hired to work full-time during the day at Bosch while they continue their studies in the evening. The students graduate with a degree and move right into a technical position at Bosch," he said.
Mansuetti noted that four students graduated in the first class and the second class of five students is in its final month of training. The next clas begins in January. "The caliber of students at Tri-County is excellent as the success of our program clearly shows. Tri-County listens to business and then aligns its education and training so its graduates can hit the ground running. As a result, students succeed . . . business thrives . . . and Tri-County's solid reputation attracts more students to pursue their degrees here," he said.
"We appreciate, too, that Tri-County believes in continuous improvement. In fact, the Bosch team is working with Tri-County to identify how we can make this successful program even better. In addition to further strengthening the curriculum, we have challenged our organization and Tri-County to increase the diversity of the students in the program," he said.
"I urge colleges - and encourage Tri-County Technical College to be the catalyst - to look at education, not in segments such as K through 12 or skilled trades or 4-year degrees, but rather, to come together and look at education as a K-16 approach," said Mansuetti.
He urged the audience of business, industry and community leaders that as they develop programs, to continue to include industry in their planning. "We appreciate that you never lose sight of the fact that you are preparing your students for the world of work. I encourage you to also think about how best to spark interest early in a child's life. . Each one of us - every business, every non-profit and every academic institution - has something to offer . . . and now, more than ever, we need to marshal our efforts. Let's show that we can make a difference."