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Portrait of Oklahoma’s Economic Future Bleak in Engineering

Lack of Professional Mentors, Lower Student Interest Indicate Industry Shift

A significant shortage of engineering mentors and lack of student interest paint a bleak portrait of Oklahoma’s economic future. Approximately forty percent of Oklahoma’s economy is based on engineering from natural resources, construction, utilities and manufacturing, yet early learning programs are on the decline.

The Oklahoma Engineering Foundation (OEF) will host its annual Engineering Fair February 19, 2013 at Science Museum Oklahoma to encourage students of all ages to learn about and participate in various educational engineering projects. Students can build bridges or create robots, use math to create real-world solutions or shadow a professional engineer as part of the Engineer for a Day program.

The OEF reiterates the importance of this annual event, but acknowledges the increasing challenge to keep the programs alive. “The problem is cyclical,” says Kelly Duke, Chairman of the Engineer for a Day program and professional engineering recruiter. “Students are less interested because there are fewer industry mentors drawing attention to the event, and potential mentors and sponsors are discouraged by lower student participation levels. In a case like this, it’s important for industry professionals to invest in continued growth. It’s the only way our economy keeps moving forward.”

The Oklahoma Engineering Foundation depends on volunteers and donors to support their mission. Without funding for programs to introduce engineering concepts at a young age, students never gain interest and the relevancy of engineering in Oklahoma declines as a whole.

Individuals and businesses can become sponsors or mentors for February’s Engineering Fair by contacting the Oklahoma Engineering Foundation at or 405-528-1435.

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If you’d like more information about engineering in the Oklahoma job market, or to schedule an interview with Kelly Duke, please contact Michelle Hubble at 405-858-8800, ext. 112, or by email at


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