I've used this column on several occasions to express concern about a general lack of understanding of the vital economic role played by manufacturing and its people. It's an unfortunate fact of our lives that most people haven't a clue where the stuff they covet comes from or how it is made. In many cases it's not a lack of interest but, a lack of opportunity to find out. This is particularly true for young people.
Well, there's a national program that's trying to do something about that. It's an effort to increase awareness about the engineering profession, its role in manufacturing and, manufacturing as a viable vocation.
February 18-24 is National Engineers Week. Under this banner, some 35,000 volunteer engineers will visit classrooms and libraries across the country in an effort to reach more than four million students and teachers. Their message is simple: consider engineering and technology as a field of endeavor. These manufacturing ambassadors use the opportunity to dispel incorrect myths about manufacturing_represented by a generally negative image of the field--most of which carryover from an earlier time. Shops and factories today are very different places from the perception most people have.
Learning about what engineers do and the environment in which they work gives a dose of reality about our nation's manufacturers to those suffering under a general misunderstanding.
National Engineers Week was conceived in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers. Its goal then, as now, was to help create interest in engineering, math and science, through a series of national programs designed to get practitioners out among students and people who otherwise might have little or no contact with such professionals.
Including NSPE, 18 engineering societies and 11 major corporations sponsor National Engineers Week. Raising people's consciousness about how engineering and the manufacture of engineered products contribute to our life style is a noble endeavor and deserves support. Many of us are quick to criticize the general lack of appreciation and understanding of manufacturing. National Engineers Week is an opportunity to help change that. Contact NSPE at (703) 684-2852 to see what's happening in your area.