From newgeography - U.S. Economy Needs Hardhats Not Nerds. The issue of many of our most successful technology companies (i.e., Facebook, Google, Zapppo, etc.) not producing enough quality middle class jobs is one of our most critical public policy issues. Engineering is directly in the middle of the issue - - the "glamour" and wealth of many parts of engineering versus the middle class job producing potential of the "old" parts of engineering.
From the article:
From the article:
"Nor is the current ephemera the key to new productivity growth. Social media may be fun, but it is not making America more competitive or particularly more productive (PDF). Yet there has been strong innovation in “production” sectors such as manufacturing, which alone accounts for roughly half (PDF) of all U.S. research and development.
What is frequently missed is that engineering covers a lot of different skills. To be sure the young programmers and digital artists are important contributors to the national economy. But so too are the many more engineers who work in more mundane fields such as geology, chemical, and civil engineering. Houston, for example, ranks second (PDF) behind San Jose in percentage of engineers in the workforce, followed by such unlikely areas as Dayton and Wichita. New York, on the other hand, has among the lowest percentage of engineers of major metropolitan areas.
To be sure, an aerospace engineer in Wichita is not likely to seem as glamorous as the youthful, urbanista app-developers so lovingly portrayed in the media. Yet these engineers are precisely the people, along with skilled workers, who keep the lights on, planes flying and cars going, and who put most of the food on people’s tables.
The dissonance between reality and perception is most pronounced in California. The state brags much about the state’s renewable sector to the ever gullible media. But in reality high subsidized solar and wind account for barely 10 percent ofelectrical production, with natural gas and coal, now mostly imported from points east, making up the vast majority. In terms of transportation fuels, the state has a96 percent dependence on fossil fuels, again large imported, despite the state’s vast reserves. Los Angeles, although literally sitting on oil, depends for 40 percent of its electricity on coal-fired power from the Intermountain West."