Asia Producing Engineers Short on Skills

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A U.S. debate over the number of engineering jobs outsourced to India and China overlooks one key issue: Many graduates of those nations' lesser engineering schools lack the skills to be hired, at home or abroad.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Now when foreign companies hire all those engineers from India and China, it creates a reverse problem. As NPR's Adam Davidson reports.

ADAM DAVIDSON: Forget taking jobs away from all of America's engineers. China and India don't have enough engineering talent to do the basic work they need at home. Spencer Potter with the American Society for Engineering Education says China and India are in crisis.

Graduates from India's top engineering schools are grabbed up quickly by high-paying foreign firms. But Potter says the second and third-tier programs graduate engineers not qualified to work internationally or domestically. Or more precisely…

Mr. SPENCER POTTER (International Programs Associate, American Society for Engineering Education): They have the quantity, but not the quality.

DAVIDSON: A recent report from the Chinese government revealed that fully 60 percent of engineering school graduates are not only unemployed, they are unemployable. They simply don't have any marketable skills. Potter says the lack of good engineers in India and China hurts the U.S. as well. New ideas don't come into being; the global economy doesn't grow as fast.

Adam Davidson, NPR News.

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