Images de page
PDF
ePub

company's expense to get a masters degree. Bell, in fact, emphasizes the educational levels required for modern technology by having a rule that no one in the laboratories at Bell Labs can be employed without a masters degree or a doctorate. But, they will help you obtain a graduate degree when they recruit at the bacculareate level.

In addition, there are other companies that allow employees, after years of work, to take time off at the company's expense to pursue a degree. My company has a systems research institute at New York City. We hire faculty from the university as part-time teachers. I don't think that activity has the effect you described, because it is exclusively for our permanent employees.

Mr. HARKIN. I have no further questions. We will end our discussion for the moment—we won't end it, but we thank you for coming today.

Dr. BRANSCOMB. I would like to thank you for the opportunity to appear. Mr. HARKIN. Dr. Frosch, thank you for coming back again.

That will bring to a close this portion of the hearing on engineering manpower concerns for science and technology. The committee will now have a brief recess.

[Brief recess.] Mr. HARKIN. We are honored to have our colleague from the other body, the Honorable Senator Harrison Schmitt, to testify regarding engineering manpower concerns. STATEMENT OF HON. HARRISON SCHMITT, MEMBER, U.S.

SENATE Mr. HARKIN. Senator Schmitt, we welcome you to the committee. It has been my personal and professional pleasure to work with you in the past. We certainly look forward to your testimony.

We have a copy of your written testimony. We will include it in the record at this point.

Please proceed.

Senator SCHMITT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. It is good to be with you again and so often. One of the exciting aspects of this year has been an opportunity to work very closely with this committee and its subcommittees in the refinement and design of not only science and technology policy, but also its implementation.

As the words of a song go, I have looked at science from many sides now, to paraphrase a little bit, not only as a trained scientist, geologist, but also as an applied scientist and engineer in the space program, and now, looking at the policy and political sides of science and engineering. I hope that some of my thoughts will be of use to the committee.

Mr. Chairman, this country is embarking on a major revitalization of our economy and strengthening of our national security. Success will depend greatly on our national innovative abilities and our skills in successfully commercializing these inventions.

Until recently, we have too often taken for granted the advantages we have enjoyed in science and technology and have allowed national policies and attitudes to develop which have tended to

you in the my personal anatt, we welco

undermine our capacity to innovate and compete successfully in the marketplace.

Mr. Chairman, since you have so generously included my full testimony in the record, I will move through certain parts of it and expand on them as seem to be fit.

Certainly, our tax, monetary and regulatory policies have discouraged the pursuit of innovative ideas in recent decades. That, I think, is something that we are all working to refine and to eliminate unnecessary tax and regulatory activity, where that can be done.

My Subcommittee on Science, Technology and Space has been looking in its areas of jurisdiction at some of the other problems that seem to have discouraged young men and women from moving into science and technological fields that are appropriate concerns of the Nation as a whole.

We have conducted oversight hearings on the National Science Foundation authorization. I have had field hearings in New Mexico, which is a major center of science and engineering activity now, in addition to being a growing area of business activity. The subcommittee and its staff have begun to concentrate on this fundamental issue of engineering and scientific manpower which I commend you for addressing also.

It is obvious that many of the problems have their roots in the difficulties of our elementary and secondary school systems which, in turn, may very well have their roots in the preschool teaching of our children. The very dominant: influence of television in that preschool environment has not yet realized its beneficial potential.

But today, I think it is important to focus on what can we do in the near and intermediate term to solve the technical manpower problem while at the same time, we address the more fundamental generic difficulties that exist within our education system as a whole.

Everyone, I believe, is aware of how much more aggressive our international competitors are and have been for some time in the education of their young people, particularly in science and engineering. Japan, the Soviet Union, many other nations are doing far more in this area and recognize the importance in international economic competition of having a reservoir of young men and women who can serve their national economic interests in engineering and scientific careers.

In contrast, we have seen a diversion of our young talented men and women into fields of law, social sciences and other fields, which, while important in their own right, do not address the basic problem that is before the subcommittee today.

One might say that we have encouraged our young men and women to go into careers that treat symptoms of problems rather than solve problems-an important difference in science and engineering education versus legal and social education.

Again, I don't mean to degrade the importance of those other fields in any way. Nevertheless, there is a fundamental difference in the educational and professional discipline that the two general categories entail.

Another problem of which our subcommittee has become much aware of is a decreasing number of young persons going into under

graduate engineering and science education over the last decade or so. Also fewer have been going further into graduate education to seek advanced degrees.

At the same time, industry is hiring away the holders of bacculareate degrees at unbelievably high salaries before they go into advanced degree work, as well as hiring away their professors.

In one sense, we are eating our seed corn and shooting our farmers. As a consequence, the most credible estimates of our shortfall are staggering. Our shortfall of advanced degree holders in science and engineering is approaching about 15,000 young people a year on top of an already clear deficiency of such degree holders.

The major and intermediate sized corporations, the intelligence community or defense community, or NASA, or any other agency or group that needs young men and women in engineering or science, already have a significant shortage of people today.

There are some signs that industry is responding to the challenge, although I still believe not nearly at the level they must. I don't see the Government investing the billion or so dollars a year in addition to what is already being invested to solve this problem of advanced degree work in engineering and science. That investment must come from the private sector, for the most part.

This does not mean that I feel there is no Government role. The role of the National Science Foundation in providing fellowships on a competitive basis in fields of obvious national interest is, I think, a legitimate function of Government, and should continue. But, it cannot ever be, in my estimation at a level commensurate with the public and private demands.

Industry is seeking new arrangements with our colleges and universities. We see this in New Mexico with an increased interest in supporting chairs for various science and engineering disciplines and developing more scholarships and work study plans in the university system with private sector investment.

I think the Congress has, by its recent tax code, offered further incentives and encouragement to the private sector to do this.

One other area that has come to light in our deliberations, particularly those in New Mexico, is the growing deficiency in this country in associate degree holders in science and engineering, very broadly defined.

In New Mexico, we have a totally inadequate community college system. We already have a projection of 10,000 new workers in the next 5 years in the Albequerque area alone, many of whom will need to have the associate degree for technical and craft work. We are not going to be able to supply them. That demand is going to have to be met from outside the State until we are able to build the kind of system that is necessary.

I am sure that is an example of a situation existing throughout the Sun Belt, as well as in other parts of the country, where the demand for technically trained and experienced young men and women will be going up astronomically as our economy begins to expand, as I believe it will, and as our demands for national security expand.

We have for some years now depended in part on the military services as a giant vocational training system. And where we have

and women in three and four time the trained manp

developed in that system experienced, well-qualified young men and women in technical fields, industry has gone in and raided them at salaries three and four times the salaries the military can pay and the military is left without the trained manpower that is necessary for its mission.

Again, I do not think that we can deal with the military manpower problem in a vacuum. Some progress was made through increased salaries and benefits, but, Mr. Chairman, I would be less than candid if I said I thought the problem was solved. Maybe the best way we can solve this problem is to keep these trained military people in their National Guard units so that they are available to serve their country. A draft into the Reserves may well be an answer to many of those kinds of joint public and private sector problems.

Mr. Chairman, I appreciate this opportunity to meet with you and to discuss this problem. I will be happy to answer any questions that you or any other members might have.

[The prepared statement of Senator Schmitt follows:]

TESTIMONY OF

SENATOR HARRISON SCHMITT

This country is embarking on a major revitalization

of our economy and strengthening of our national security. Success will depend greatly on our national innovative abilities and our skills in successful commercializing these innovations. Until recently we have too often taken for granted the advantages which we have enjoyed in research and technology and have allowed national policies and attitudes to develop which have tended to undermine our capacities to innovate and compete successfully in the

market place.

Our tax, monetary and regulatory policies have discouraged pursuit of the uncertain and the dramatically innovative. I support the efforts which the Administration is taking in tax reform, stabilization of the money supply and elimination of unproductive regulation, all of which will improve the climate for innovation.

However, the most important influences on innovation · are the imaginations and skills of the men and women who make the discoveries and transform them into usable goods and services. My Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space has held hearings this year on the problems of assuring that there will be enough of these men and women to address the needs of our nation. Our oversight hearings for the National Science Foundation examined the federal

« PrécédentContinuer »