Lack of Engineering Students Threaten Michigan’s Future

August 14, 2008

U.S. auto manufacturers have taken a hit in recent years, and now there’s one more strikeout for the team: students aren’t interested in majoring in engineering at Michigan universities, the heartland of the American auto industry.

“In the past six years new engineering enrollments at Michigan universities have plummeted by more than 13 percent compared to a nine percent increase nationally,” said Dr. Leo E. Hanifin, dean of the University of Detroit’s College of Engineering and Science. “In Michigan, this precipitous drop is clearly linked to layoffs and poor performance within the domestic auto industry.”

Other contributing factors to the decline of the engineering-talent pool are: baby-boomer retirements; a drop in the number of college-age students; and fewer foreign students studying in the U.S. because of stronger education oppurtunities in their home countries. Plus, since 911, student visas have been slow coming.

Hanifin also states that studies indicate 80 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) comes from technological innovations, and to remain competitive in the global market, changes would have to be implemented at the state and federal levels.

“After our engineers and technological entrepreneurs are educated, we’ll need to gather them in adequate numbers to concentrate their technical and creative capabilities in order to form ‘engines for innovation’ similar to what occurred several decades ago in California’s Silicon Valley,” he said.

The University of Detroit, College of Engineering and Science, offers engineering specializations such as mechanical, civil & environmental, electrical & computer, engineering management, product development and manufacturing.

Visit for more information about its programs.


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