A commitment to better engineering education is beginning to show dividends for Nestor Fernandez, ITD roadway design engineer.
During the past year, Fernandez joined the Nampa School District’s Professional Technical Education Advisory Board and assisted with development of its pre-engineering curriculum. He also helped with Hispanic outreach efforts for Boise State University’s College of Engineering.
ITD’s on-going partnership with the Nampa School District provides the school district with department volunteers who offer real-world expertise. At the same time, high school students participating in the district’s pre-engineering program are discovering how advanced education may lead to career opportunities at ITD or elsewhere.
“As more engineers approach retirement age, and as the workforce shrinks after enjoying the fruits of the baby boom generation, it is important to have well-qualified replacements,” explains Michelle George, a recruiter with ITD’s Human Resource Services who helped coordinate the program with the Nampa School District.
Experts predict a major shortage of engineers in the future unless more students are recruited into college programs.
Fernandez, a volunteer technical advisor for the school district, reviews and provides feedback on its engineering education. Recently, the district’s pre-engineering program was certified and students permitted to apply for college credit through that program.
Not to be outdone, the Meridian School District also asked Fernandez for assistance with its pre-engineering education program.
He recently helped BSU’s College of Engineering reach out to Hispanic students during e-Day, a one-day activity the university sponsors each year that is dedicated to engineering education and career opportunities.
“Nestor and other ITD outreach volunteers have found a meaningful way to give back to their profession and community by choosing to be actively involved with helping mold a future workforce that is both educated and diverse,” said George.