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Defense not hurting engineer supply.

Defense not hurting engineer supply

Almost 70 percent of federal research and development spending goes for defense (SN: 2/15/86, p.100). Because the industrial defense sector is also expanding, there has been concern that these programs might be siphoning off most of the nation's best young engineers, and setting up the civilian sector for a serious shortfall of available engineering graduates -- a factor that could affect U.S. industrial competitiveness. But a new study by the National Academy of Engineering in Washington, D.C., indicates such fears are largely misplaced. It found that the United States' defense buildup has "not seriously affected" the number of engineers available to the civilian sector.

Placement officers from about a dozen academic institutions told the study's authors that today's overall demand for graduates roughly matches supply and that graduates are less averse to working on defense projects now than during the late 1960s. In fact, the report found, jobs in the defense sector "have acted to offset declines in recruiting activity by the commercial sector and to absorb increases in the supply of engineering graduates." However, the study notes, there is still a serious shortage of engineering faculty, and defense programs may generate civilian labor shortages in some specialties--like optics.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Nov 15, 1986
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