Short Supply

Outreach program needed for science, engineering fields

by Christopher L. Grachanen

Many practitioners working in science and engineering disciplines are keenly aware of the shortage of qualified technical candidates to fill current positions. The shortage will likely continue to worsen with the retiring baby boomers. But these practitioners often are unaware of what they can do as individuals to help reverse this trend.

A number of activities can help promote the metrology fi eld to students and young adults. ASQ’s Measurement Quality Division (MQD) and the National Conference of Standard Laboratories International (NCSLI) have partnered on several projects to promote and enhance the metrology field.

One major effort focuses on the creation of job descriptions for metrology practitioners that will be added to the U.S. Department of Labor’s standard occupation classification system.

Individuals involved in this particular project recognized that neither MQD nor NCSLI had a focused outreach effort for metrology education and training. This realization led to the creation of the metrology education and training outreach committee.

Committee action

The committee, formed under the auspices of NCSLI, is comprised of MQD and NCSLI members. The committee charter includes its goal to “develop and support initiatives and programs enabling metrology education and training globally.”

Initial long range plans for the committee include:

  • Help advertise and promote metrology education and training programs.
  • Support the expansion, enhancement and development of metrology education and training programs.
  • Develop a clearinghouse of metrology and education resources.
  • Provide guidance and support for the donation of test equipment to metrology education and training programs in universities and colleges.

During one of the initial committee meetings, it was agreed that much could be learned from other professional organizations’ education and outreach programs, and that liaison contacts with these organizations should be pursued (see “Learning From Others”).

Today, volunteers are sought to act as liaisons on behalf of the committee and establish relationships with each organization’s education and training outreach programs.

In addition to liaison efforts, the committee established the following short term objectives:

  • Develop a multimedia outreach tool to educate people about the metrology field.
  • Establish a test equipment donation clearinghouse for schools with metrology curriculums.
  • Generate an outreach package for graduating metrology students to inform other students about metrology organizations and other reference sources.
  • Develop an outreach training program for NCSLI section coordinators.
  • Post metrology internship opportunities on the NCSLI website.

Grassroots efforts—spearheaded by a few MQD and NCSLI members focusing on where tomorrow’s metrology professionals will come from—proactively led to the creation of NCSLI’s education and training outreach committee.

This committee will help coordinate efforts to ensure a healthy metrology workforce for the future.


If you would like to find out more about NCSLI’s education and training outreach committee, visit www.ncsli.org/committees/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.dsp_chair_info&position_id=164.1.

Learning From Others

The National Conference of Standard Laboratories International’s education and training outreach committee is learning about the respective outreach programs of the following professional organizations:

American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE): ASEE is an organization of individuals and institutions committed to furthering education in engineering and engineering technology.

Project Lead the Way (PLTW): PLTW works to build strategic partnerships among middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities, business and industry and provide students with the rigorous, relevant, reality based knowledge necessary to pursue engineering or engineering technology programs in college.

National Science Foundation: This independent federal agency promotes the progress of science, works to advance national health, prosperity and welfare, and secure the national defense.

American Assn. of Physics Teachers (AAPT): AAPT’s fundamental goal is to ensure the dissemination of knowledge of physics, particularly through teaching.

National Science Teachers Assn. (NSTA): NSTA is the world’s largest organization committed to promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning.

American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM): ASTM is one of the largest voluntary standards development organizations in the world and a source for technical standards for materials, products, systems and services.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI): As the voice of the U.S. standards and conformity assessment system, ANSI empowers its members and constituents to strengthen the U.S. marketplace position in the global economy while helping ensure the safety and health of consumers and the protection of the environment.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE): This is a professional association for the advancement of technology. Through its global membership, IEEE is an authority on areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics.

Instrumentation Society of America (ISA): ISA is a global, nonprofit organization setting the standard for automation by helping more than 30,000 worldwide members and other professionals solve difficult technical problems, while enhancing their leadership and personal career capabilities.

International Technology Education Assn. (ITEA): ITEA is the professional organization for technology, innovation, design and engineering educators. Its mission is to promote technological literacy for all by supporting the teaching of technology and promoting the professionalism of those engaged in this pursuit. ITEA strengthens the profession through state and national legislative efforts, professional development, membership services, publications and classroom activities.

Science and Technology Education Partnership (STEP): STEP helps students, teachers and professional scientists work together to make science and math fun and exciting.

American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME): ASME promotes the art, science and practice of mechanical and multidisciplinary engineering and allied sciences around the globe.

Society of Women Engineers (SWE): SWE is an educational and service organization and driving force that establishes engineering as a highly desirable career aspiration for women. It empowers women to succeed and advance in those aspirations and be recognized for their life changing contributions and achievements as engineers and leaders.

Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS): The mission of SACNAS is to encourage Chicano/Latino and Native American students to pursue graduate education and obtain the advanced degrees necessary for science research, leadership and teaching careers.

U.S. Science Olympiad: U.S. Science Olympiad is a primarily American elementary, middle or high school team competition that requires knowledge of various science topics and engineering ability. More than 14,000 teams from 45 U.S. states and Canada compete each year.

Women in Quality (WIC): This ASQ network is a group of women and men who strive to create an environment in the quality profession that allows each woman the ability to achieve her fullest potential. WIQ provides the opportunity to network with other women in the quality profession to learn from on another. —C.G.

Christopher Grachanen

CHRISTOPHER L. GRACHANEN is a master engineer/operations manager for Hewlett-Packard’s Houston metrology group and is MQD’s secretary, certification chair and NCSLI liaison. He is also NCSLI’s south central U.S. region coordinator, co-chair of NCSLI’s education and training outreach committee and chair of NCSLI’s outreach publication committee.

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