Support Workforce Development With Couragion’s Mechanical Engineering Challenge
With September being Workforce Development Month, it is the perfect time to share another blog post in my series that has revealed details about Couragion’s new Engineering Challenges. Workforce Development Month brings attention to the need for funding and training to address the growing skills gap in the United States. It highlights what states are doing to provide people with the technological skills needed to ensure the economic competitiveness of the United States.
A major goal of Workforce Development is to fuse ‘rigorous academic content with occupational skills’ – that’s exactly what Couragion’s Challenges do. Our latest Challenge focuses on Mechanical Engineering through the lens of the Aerospace Industry. It teaches students career-specific skills and terminology and then asks students to complete in-app tasks that simulate actual “to dos” a person in the career would complete.
It was imperative that we cover the topic of Mechanical Engineering in the Couragion Challenges due to the high labor market demand for this career. A search this week on Indeed.com yielded over 70,400 job openings in the field of Mechanical Engineering within the United States. And the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that there are 312,900 people currently employed as Mechanical Engineers with this number expected to grow at a rate of 4% from 2018 to 2028.
Not only is Mechanical Engineering important from the demand side of the labor market, the career is also viewed positively by a high percentage of students - which makes it an excellent lens through which to introduce technological skills. One testament to students’ positive interest in the career is Couragion’s data showing that 59% of students who complete the Mechanical Engineering Quest receive a ‘Best Fit’ – which means the career aligns well with their interests, values, & desired job characteristics. Another indication of student interest is that 50% of students share positive sentiments when journaling about the career in the Couragion app. The top reasons why students gravitate toward this career are the opportunity to work on space technology, the ability to work with 3-D printers, a high pay rate, working with a team, leadership responsibilities, and the ability to learn new things. These verbatim quotes illustrate students’ perceptions of the career:
“This career holds everything I dreamed of - watching launches, 3-D printing, traveling. It has everything!” - White Female, Middle School
“I like this career since you get paid very well and it seems fun and easy for me.” - Hispanic Male, High School
“Everything seemed interesting to me - the 3-D printing, the management, the mechanical aspect, and other things like his flexibility in his job.” - White Male, High School
“This job is good because I would like to lead and build 3-D printed products.” - Asian Male, High School
Influenced by both labor market demand and student interest areas, the Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering Challenge enables students to build work-based learning skills in the areas of mechanical systems, additive manufacturing, environmentally conscious manufacturing, human factors engineering, models and simulations, and material properties. The Challenge asks students to take on the role of a Mechanical Engineer who designs and builds parts/products/systems for rockets and the International Space Station. For example, in one task, students must determine if their part design & material (for a rocket support bracket) will withstand the forces expected in its final use/application. Students learn about performing Static Stress Tests using Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software and then they must assess test results to determine if the part will deform or break under the anticipated forces.
The Mechanical/Aerospace Challenge expands our multidisciplinary Engineering Challenge portfolio which includes Manufacturing/Quality, Biomedical/Materials, and Electrical/Environmental focused Challenges. Couragion’s Challenges are a perfect resource for positively engaging students in Workforce Development activities - providing academic content in the occupational skill areas that are most critical for the competitiveness of the U.S. labor market. To see our Challenges in action, email us to schedule a demo (firstname.lastname@example.org).