Chapter VII. Technology Transfer
Army Science and Technology Master Plan (ASTMP 1997)

4. Outreach Programs

Studies by the National Science Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences have indicated that in order to meet the scientific and economic challenges expected in the year 2000 the nation will need to attract and retain more students in degree completion activities in science, mathematics, and engineering. Approximately 70 percent of the adults entering the work force between now and the 21st century will be women and minorities. Yet, women and minorities are two groups historically under-represented and underutilized in science and engineering. To counteract this trend, DoD task force studies have urged the creation of intervention programs designed to increase the availability of scientific, engineering, and technical skills in the DoD work force. A number of these Army outreach efforts are described in this section.

a. Women in Science and Engineering

There is a significant underrepresentation of women in engineering and the physical sciences, compared with their participation in the general workforce. Despite significant increases during the last generation, only about 9 percent of all working engineers are women, and in recent years the proportion of new women engineering graduates has remained constant at about 16 percent. Absent significant intervention or major social change, the proportion of women in engineering is therefore likely to increase gradually and then level off. Perhaps because of their scarcity and/or because only the best survive, women engineering graduates receive 103 percent of the starting salary of men.

The Army has outreach activities whereby it employs women college students from local universities, studying engineering and the sciences, in a cooperative education program that alternates school and work cycles. High school and college summer employment opportunities are also available (Figure VII-4). In addition there are employment programs for women instructors in high school and higher education who are interested in keeping current in their areas of technical expertise.

Figure VII-4. Army Outreach Programs Include Attracting Women Scientists and Engineers

The Army actively ensures promotion opportunities for both women and minorities. All proposed selections to senior- and executive-level science and engineering career positions are carefully reviewed before the development of candidate referral lists. A mandatory recruitment/outreach plan is formulated to locate all best qualified women and minorities. The entire process is audited at the Army major command level.

b. Youth Sciences Activities

A major need for the future U.S. competitive edge is maintaining or increasing the scientific and technical human resources available to both the government and private sectors. To accomplish this, education, especially in science, mathematics, and technology, is critical.

Many Army laboratories have outreach programs which are actively supporting innovative ways to improve science and technology education and improve the cost effectiveness of local school systems. These initiatives to support educational systems, at all levels, are accomplished under a wide variety of established programs such as adopt-a-school, education partnerships, and student/faculty employment programs.

Services provided by hundreds of Army scientists and engineers have helped to improve science, mathematics, and technology education through such contributions as technical lectures, career education, science fair judges, field trips, mentors for student research projects, library support, computer support, loaning/donating surplus equipment, providing students an opportunity to work on defense laboratory research projects for academic credit, and teaching classes or assisting in the development of courses and materials.

A key element of education is the classroom teacher. To keep up with the changing world of science and technology, classroom material taught must be continually updated so that students are prepared to take their places in a more technologically complex world. This means teachers have to be updated. They can't teach what they do not know. They can't prepare their students for a career in a work world they haven't seen. Army laboratory personnel are working with teachers from school systems throughout the nation to enable them to experience firsthand some of the recent changes in science and technology and to develop methods for discarding out-dated information and incorporating the new material into the classroom.

School systems have derived substantial benefits from direct involvement with key scientists and engineers at Army laboratories, as evidenced by numerous awards, certificates, and letters of appreciation for Army support in partnership programs in math, science, and technology programs with local school systems.

The Army also sponsors a number of specific youth programs at the high school and pre-college levels to promote participation in science and engineering activities. For example: