Engineering: Stay With It

The President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in 2011 created the “Stay With It” campaign, focused on engineering students.  The campaign will launch in 2012. 

A key contributing factor for freshmen who drop engineering as a major is a reduction in motivation stemming from lack of opportunity to apply their classroom learning to “real” engineering opportunities. Consequently, in 2012 the Council will launch a national Stay With It campaign in partnership with academia, the private sector and the entertainment industry. It will focus on accelerating engineering experiences, providing encouragement, increasing the prestige of engineering and helping students graduate with engineering degrees. The Stay With It campaign will include a national pep rally this spring to inspire students’ enthusiasm for engineering. This unique campus event, broadcast via social and mass media, will celebrate students who have chosen the field of engineering and recognize them as crucial to the future of our nation.

The Council believes that a critical factor to retaining engineering students is providing them with opportunities that connect their classroom learning with real-world opportunities while providing much-needed financial support. More than 65 companies have already committed to doubling their 2012 summer engineering internships—with Intel, GE and DuPont alone making an overall $70 million investment in providing students with invaluable hands-on experience. Additionally, engineering deans from some of the nation’s top universities—including Georgia Tech, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Michigan—have developed gold seal standards of excellence for colleges of engineering focused on improved retention and graduation rates. By providing both direct student engagement and support as well as securing institutional leadership and commitment, the Council will not only focus attention on the importance of engineering student retention and increased graduation rates but also strengthen the nation.

As we move through the new year, the Council welcomes company participation to expand the Day of Engineering to additional campuses; provide support for increased internships; secure funding to support bridge programs and mentoring efforts, both of which are proven and effective methods to improve student retention; and support the national Stay With It campaign by offering to host campus events, support public-service announcements and provide mentors to engineering students.

This information can be found in more detail on page 20 of the Council’s “Roadmap to Renewal” report.