Drive for More Science Graduates Falls Behind Its Goals

July 15, 2008

A campaign by prominent business groups to drastically increase the number of Americans entering engineering, mathematics, the sciences, and technology-related fields is not making nearly as much progress as its leaders had hoped, according to a report released today.

In 2005 the Business Roundtable joined 15 other major business groups in calling for the number of people annually earning bachelor’s degrees in such fields to double, from 200,000 to 400,000, by 2015. Today’s report says bachelor’s-degree production in those fields has leveled out at about 225,000 a year, threatening the United States’ efforts to stay ahead of its foreign competitors.

The report blames much of the lack of progress on the federal government’s failure to spend more on science and mathematics education. Some experts on scientific fields have argued that the business groups’ warnings of worker shortages are overblown. —Peter Schmidt