International Society of Automation News Release
Contact: Jennifer Infantino
+1 919-990-9287
jenniferinfantino@isa.org

ISA and the Automation Federation call for greater efforts to promote the value and significance of STEM learning, and engineering and automation careers

Engineers Week, 22-28 February 2015, provides an excellent opportunity

Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA (04 February 2015)--As the new year begins, the International Society of Automation (ISA) and its umbrella organization, the Automation Federation, encourage their members and other automation engineers and professionals to make a renewed effort to promote the value and significance of engineering and engineering careers.

The call by ISA and the Automation Federation for greater attention to the automation and engineering profession coincides with efforts by DiscoverE (formerly the National Engineers Week Foundation) to raise public awareness of engineers' positive contributions to quality of life through its multi-faceted national programs and annual Engineers Week, which in 2015 will be recognized 22-28 February.

As a contributing coalition member of DiscoverE, ISA is among more than 70 engineering, educational and cultural societies and more than 50 corporations and government agencies dedicated to increasing public dialogue about the need for engineers and to bringing engineering to life for young people, educators and parents.

“ISA is an organization built and supported by the volunteer efforts of its members,” states Patrick Gouhin, ISA Executive Director and CEO. “It’s my hope and expectation that our members will tap into their spirit of volunteerism and explore the various ways they can promote the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in their local communities.

“Engineers Week provides a great opportunity to take a closer look at the many positive and rewarding DiscoverE programs and events, and consider how to get involved—whether as a student mentor or classroom speaker, by bringing a class of students to your workplace or through some other fashion,” Gouhin says. “Getting involved and giving back to our communities and our profession shouldn’t be a once-a-year event. Volunteering in outreach and educational efforts can be done any time of the year.”

STEM learning and capabilities drive global and personal success

As the “Voice of Automation,” the Automation Federation and its 16 member organizations and six working groups partner with government leaders, educators and private industry to boost awareness around the key role automation and engineering play in advancing society, quality of life, economic growth and opportunities for satisfying, well-paying careers.

“It’s so very important that we recognize the value and contributions of engineers and automation professionals because they directly contribute to the quality of life we enjoy,” says Peggie W. Koon, Ph.D., 2015 Automation Federation Chair and 2014 ISA President. “While the fields of engineering and automation touch so many areas of daily life, so much of what is accomplished by these professionals is simply taken for granted and not acknowledged or celebrated on a regular basis.”

This lack of attention, she says, has a ripple effect.

“Since we don’t recognize the achievements of engineering and automation in a powerful way, many young people do not realize their significance to the health of our nation, the many exciting advances occurring in these areas, and the diverse and financially rewarding career opportunities that are possible in these fields.”

Data posted on the US Department of Education (www.ED.gov/stem) website reveal that low interest among US students in STEM-related education and career fields is placing America’s future competitiveness and inventiveness in jeopardy.

According to the site, only 16 percent of American high school students are proficient in mathematics are interested in a STEM career. Among those who do pursue a college major in a STEM field, only about half actually work in a STEM-related career. These realities contribute to America’s poor global ranking among industrialized nations in mathematics (ranked 25th) and science (ranked 17th).

“In today’s increasingly competitive global economy, it’s essential that we reverse these trends,” Dr. Koon emphasizes. “As professionals who work in engineering and automation, we must find creative and engaging new ways to inspire young people to pursue STEM-oriented education. By doing so, these students can propel themselves and their country forward through discovery and innovation.”

What can you do? Get involved!

A great first step is to log on to the DiscoverE website to learn about how you can promote Engineers Week and spread the word in your community about the merits of engineering and automation, and STEM-focused career paths.

Thousands of Engineers Week-related events take place across the US each year and are hosted by individuals, professional societies, engineering firms and universities. Popular ways to get involved include:

  • Presenting at a classroom or after-school group
  • Bringing students to your workplace or campus
  • Hosting a public event
  • Publicizing your plans in the calendar at www.DiscoverE.org or on the ISA blog, ISA Interchange
  • Getting the word out through social media at www.facebook.com/DiscoverE.org and Twitter@DiscoverEorg

For more great ways on how you can get involved, click here.

DiscoverE also implements a variety of programs associated with Engineers Week, including:

  • Future City Competition, a national, project-based learning experience (The national finals will be held 14-18 February 2015 in Washington, DC.) where students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades imagine, design and build cities of the future.
  • Girl Day (26 February 2014), a day that celebrates girls’ aptitude in STEM learning and shows girls how engineers are changing our world.
  • Global Marathon an event (9-11 March 2015) that unites women in engineering and technology fields around the world for globally connected webcasts and locally organized in-person activities.

To get a feeling of what it’s like to serve as a volunteer in an STEM-focused event for young people, read the column by ISA Executive Director and CEO Patrick Gouhin.  In it, Gouhin shares his experience as a safety advisor at a regional qualifying event of the 2014 FIRST® Robotics Competition.

To stay up to date on all STEM-related initiatives, join leaders from business, education and government at the 4th annual U.S. News STEM Solutions National Leadership Conference, 29 June to 1 July 2015 in San Diego, California. Get all the details at the conference website.

About DiscoverE

The mission of DiscoverE is to sustain and grow a dynamic engineering profession through outreach, education, celebration and volunteerism. DiscoverE supports a network of thousands of volunteers in its partner coalition of more than 100 professional societies, major corporations and government agencies. Together we meet a vital need: introducing students, parents, and educators to engineering, engaging them in hands-on engineering experiences and making science and math relevant. For more information, visit www.discovere.org.

About the Automation Federation

The Automation Federation is a global umbrella organization of sixteen (16) member organizations and six working groups engaged in automation activities. The Automation Federation enables its members to more effectively fulfill their missions, advance the science and engineering of automation technologies and applications, and develop the workforce needed to capitalize on the benefits of automation. The Automation Federation is the "Voice of Automation." For more information about the Automation Federation, visit www.automationfederation.org.

About ISA

Founded in 1945, the International Society of Automation (www.isa.org) is a leading, global, nonprofit organization that is setting the standard for automation by helping over 30,000 worldwide members and other professionals solve difficult technical problems, while enhancing their leadership and personal career capabilities. Based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, ISA develops standards, certifies industry professionals, provides education and training, publishes books and technical articles, and hosts conferences and exhibitions for automation professionals. ISA is the founding sponsor of the Automation Federation (www.automationfederation.org).