In order to create the next generation of more efficient transportation, automakers and suppliers need a lot of engineering talent. The problem is the talent pool today is very limited and those that have the necessary skills are tending to find greener pastures than Michigan. The number of American students going into science and engineering has been on the decline as everyone wants to be the next Donald Trump instead of the next Charles Kettering. Kettering, you say? Who's that? That's precisely the problem. Few of the engineers and scientists who have helped shape the industry over the past century have gotten the kind of popular recognition that financial types have gotten.

As a result, students have tended to migrate to biz schools instead of engineering schools. That makes it harder for car makers to get the people they need. Unfortunately, they also partly have themselves to blame as talented engineers in this industry often get left behind when it comes to promote to the management ranks. With little opportunity for advancement past the staff level, many engineers tend to migrate elsewhere after a time. Recently, GM's Dan Hancock and Tom Stephens attended the FIRST Robotics competition to try and entice the students to consider a career in automotive engineering. There are certainly plenty of opportunities right now to work on interesting stuff, but they will have a hard time recruiting until they can demonstrate that the jobs and the companies have some longer term viability. Right now, engineering jobs outside the auto industry look a lot more attractive and that will be a tough perception to change.

[Source: Detroit News]


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