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Gov. Schwarzenegger Announces 2008 Proposal to Bring 20,000 New Engineers to California’s Workforce

as read by Engineer.net
January 8, 2009
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On December 26th, 2008, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his plan to address California's critical need for new engineers. The Governor's proposal will bring approximately 20,000 new engineers into California's workforce over the next decade by expanding existing educational programs and building new partnerships between our schools, the military and the private sector. The Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) projects that, unless California takes action now, we face a shortfall of almost 40,000 engineers by 2014. LWDA forecasts that California will need approximately 20,000 to 24,000 additional engineers educated in California to begin meeting the growing engineering needs of both the private and public sectors over the next decade.

"California needs more engineers to achieve the improvements to our roads, schools and other infrastructure that voters envisioned when they passed the Strategic Growth Plan bonds last year," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "As my administration works to deliver these improvements better, faster and for less through Performance Based Infrastructure, we must also ensure that our colleges and universities can attract and graduate the best and brightest engineers to build the Golden State."

The Governor proposes to:

  • Establish programs at the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) to expedite certification for veterans with engineering backgrounds. This will open up important employment opportunities to the approximately 3,000 service members discharged to California each year who hold engineering-related military jobs.
  • Direct $1 million in federal Workforce Investment Act funds to develop new apprenticeship programs that partner private industry and California Community Colleges (CCC).
  • Launch the Engineering Education Council to bring more private funds into "pipeline" programs at UC, CSU, CCC and other engineering programs. These programs help move math and science students into the engineering field.
  • Expand the statewide charter of High Tech High, a California charter school organization, to build out engineering-focused charter schools. In 2006, the State Board of Education approved 10 High Tech High charter schools; the Governor proposes to raise this number and expand its charter to grades K-12.

California currently faces a significant shortage of engineers. By recruiting qualified veterans, enhancing "pipeline" programs and building out K-12 engineering programs, the Governor's proposal addresses the driver behind this gap: a shortage of students seeking bachelor's degrees in engineering.

"California's colleges and universities have great engineering programs and the capacity to produce more engineers. Our challenge is getting more students into these programs and ready for the job opportunities that await them after graduation," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "My proposals will enhance our schools' ability to attract the best students and graduate highly qualified engineers, prepare students for well-paying and in-demand jobs and ultimately help California meet our pressing infrastructure needs."

Governor Schwarzenegger will discuss his vision for strategic growth in California and the pressing need for Performance Based Infrastructure in his State of the State speech on January 8th 2009.




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