Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering Dean Gary S. May spoke at a White House ceremony on Wednesday (Feb. 8), stressing the need to attract more young minds to the field of engineering and retain them until graduation to improve the nation’s prosperity and competitiveness.
“Engineering is a profession of great wonder and rich reward,” May said at the event hosted by the White House Council on Jobs and Competitiveness to celebrate engineering deans for their excellence and commitment to educating and graduating more engineers.
“In communicating the appeal of our profession, we must tap into what young people value most in their life’s work—flexibility, connectivity, visibility and above all else, the chance to use technology to make a real impact on our nation and world and to change our society for the better,” May added.
May touted the strategies used by Georgia Tech to retain 94 percent of freshmen after their first year and graduate eight out of every 10 students within six years.
“Even more so, we are attracting women and minorities to engineering in large numbers and, I am proud to say, graduating them, making Georgia Tech the nation’s largest and most diverse college of engineering,” said May, who chairs the Dean’s Advisory Committee for the High Technology Education Working Group, which is part of the White House Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
Georgia Tech was one of 50 engineering colleges recognized at the event for its excellence and commitment to engineering education. During the ceremony, the council also announced a partnership with the American Society for Engineering Education to develop metrics to formally recognize engineering schools that meet particular graduation and retention levels.
U.S. President Barack Obama has a goal of graduating 10,000 additional new engineers each year through private sector incentives and efforts in engineering schools to attract and retain top talent. The council is comprised of leaders from companies that rely on a quality STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workforce and who have a particular interest in the production of more engineers.
Along with May, other featured speakers at the ceremony included: Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to the President; Paul Otellini, president and CEO of Intel; Steven Chu, U.S. Secretary of Energy; Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education; and Don Giddens, president of the American Society for Engineering Education and former dean of engineering at Georgia Tech.