Technology continues to transform society at an ever-increasing rate. In fact, the pace is so rapid that companies often find it difficult to stay current and equip their people to be the best. How does a leading corporation ensure it has the capacity to grow and maintain its leadership position? I see the answer as a three-legged approach, where success depends on all three supports.
The first two are familiar to anyone who knows higher education: a skilled entry-level workforce (recent engineering graduates) and innovative research (technological advancement). The Cockrell School, along with other top-ranked U.S. engineering schools, do a great job of preparing people to immediately make contributions to their employers. Regarding research, the technology-driven business community — whether involved in STEM or not — benefits from the thought leadership and tech breakthroughs discovered by our faculty and students.
The third support, which is critically important and too often overlooked, is upskilling the corporation’s current workforce to ensure that its people are its biggest assets. It is imperative for STEM and business professionals to continually grow, develop and re-train. Engineering professional education programs, like those offered in the Cockrell School and at other select schools across the country, are the vehicles for this effort. The programs offer a unique education that links the expertise of the university’s thought leaders with tailored curriculum and training designed for people who work full time.
As a result of growing demand for this type of advanced education, we are seeing a rush of innovation in the professional development programs of several top engineering schools. In the Cockrell School, we are now offering micro-credentials, fully online degrees, better certificate programs and creative models for adult learning. Our master’s degrees, weekend executive master’s degrees, certificates in engineering leadership and customized, cutting-edge training programs in fields like nanotechnology, health care and energy are transforming workforces and enabling long-serving employees to remain secure and competitive in their companies—no matter how much younger their coworkers are becoming.
I understand that both employees and their companies constantly require new skills, and they need to gain them quickly and cost-effectively. Programs like ours will continue to evolve and improve to meet the needs of changing industries. The bottom line is this: great engineering schools thrive on partnerships with great companies, and great companies—along with their employees—thrive when leveraging the educational assets of great engineering schools.
Learn more about Texas Engineering Executive Education programs at executive.engr.utexas.edu