PISCATAWAY, NJ The trend is alarming and it is global. In Western Europe, Australia, Japan, and even in India, the numbers of students focusing on engineering and computer science are declining. A 2003 Harris poll conducted in the US shows that only 2 percent of first-year university students (and less than 1 percent of young women) want to major in computer science.

The IEEE is a driving force behind changing the perception of math and science-based careers. These low numbers raise concerns among leaders of industry and policymakers, who believe that a large and well-educated engineering workforce is essential to public welfare and technological progress. The decline in engineering student numbers threatens the operation and growth of many organizations around the globe. A major focus of the IEEE's efforts is engaging young people on engineering topics and fields.

Education is the foundation of the IEEE's vision, as it serves to enlighten students on career options. It also guides professionals on how to attract and retain talent. The IEEE is committed to educating youth worldwide on the benefits of engineering-based careers and guiding university students on engineering majors and careers. The dialog focuses on re-thinking the engineer, mastering the innovation process, global workforce challenges, and life-long learning.

The IEEE partnered with the National Academy of Engineering to create a report, "Changing the Conversation." It also issued a call to action for the industry to come together to create a coordinated, multi-year campaign to deliver the message that engineers make a world of difference. This campaign focuses especially on young people, who don't see engineering as a trade with adequate opportunities..