This paper summarizes the study on foreign and foreign-born engineers in the United States which was commissioned by the National Academy of Engineering. Briefly, the three major findings of that study were: (1) the proportion of foreign-born engineers (foreign citizens and naturalized American citizens) in the U.S. work force has been increasing, roughly from 8% in 1972 to 18% in 1982; (2) the increase has occurred disproportionately in the academic sector, from 10% in 1975 to almost 50% in 1985; and (3) the largest numbers come from areas of the world that include the Far and Middle East and India. Issues addressed by the study were: (1) what this means for our economy; (2) how this affects under-represented groups (women and minorities) in engineering; (3) the effect of foreign engineers on engineering education; and (4) whether or not it is wise policy to subsidize the training of foreign students. An ancillary issue addressed was whether or not the foreign engineers lower the wage rates of American engineers. Recommendations from the study included the following: (1) "Don't do anything to make it more difficult for these foreign engineers to come into this country"; (2) Make it more attractive for American students to pursue a graduate education in engineering; (3) Language proficiency should be monitored; (4) Pre-college math and science education has to be dramatically improved; (5) Develop a firmer factual base on which the issue of the quality of engineering education, and what might happen to it as a result of foreign presence, could be judged; and (6) Examine more extensively the characteristics of engineering education and how it might be influenced by the increasingly important role that's played by foreign faculty.

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    • This paper appears in Transportation Research Circular No. 357, National Impact of Foreign-Born Engineers. Distribution, posting, or copying of this PDF is strictly prohibited without written permission of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials in this PDF are copyrighted by the National Academy of Sciences. Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
  • Authors:
    • Fechter, A
  • Publication Date: 1990-3

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  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Pagination: p. 10-14
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  • Accession Number: 00496801
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Aug 31 1990 12:00AM