Yesterday, I wrote about a seeming glut of tech jobs that apparently can't be filled and the subsequent need for more investment in science, technology, math and engineering (STEM) in schools to reverse the trend and fill the deficit.
The post garnered an inbox full of responses; some angry, many frustrated, others in agreement. Some readers felt the argument was a political one, blaming one party’s policies or another.
Others felt the issue was situational, with too many tech jobs located in areas where fewer engineers could take advantage of them.
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“I wish I was 25 instead of 52 so I could just pick up my 5 lbs. of stuff instead of 50,000 and jump right over there,” wrote one unemployed software engineer from New Jersey.
Lack of work experience was blamed for many “average” engineering grads unable to get starter jobs right out of college, while other readers complained that the curse of unemployment made it even more difficult to get back on the job ladder.
“The engineer shortage is a fantasy of the high tech companies,” wrote reader Steve Sodos, holder of a BSEE from Stanford who lives in Silicon Valley. “I cannot get a job because I am unemployed. The high-tech companies are only interested in people who have a specific job skill set so they will ‘hit the ground running.” Sodos said the solution to the engineer "shortage" is simple: "Don't reject all of the applicants!”
Steve Anderson, self-proclaimed “lab guy” at Sonoma State University, said President Obama was the only candidate who gave "lip service" to STEM. "He is the one who said those words, and has committed to a program to support it," Anderson said.
On the other hand, Anderson argues candidate Romney just believes in supporting charter schools, which do not comply with No Child Left Behind testing. “The Republican main science plan is to bust public employee unions and demonize teachers,” he said.
Anderson believes one reason for the dropping rates of STEM students is because NCLB testing does not require physics, as it’s “too hard to put true-false science questions onto a bubble test.”
“Physics is science and science creates engineers,” Anderson added.