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Unique Challenges and Opportunities to Educate and Empower a Robust, Diverse, and Inclusive Standards Workforce Among Topics Discussed

December 6, 2023

As part of ongoing efforts to gather private-sector input on implementation of the U.S. Government National Standards Strategy for Critical and Emerging Technology  (USG NSSCET), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Workcred, and Columbia University hosted a Dec. 6 listening session at the Columbia University School of Professional Studies Career Design Lab in New York.

The hybrid event brought together academia, private-sector stakeholders, and representatives from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) , including Dr. Laurie Locascio, Director of NIST and the Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology, and Dr. Jayne Morrow, NIST senior advisor for standards policy. The event began with a Columbia University fireside chat with Under Secretary Locascio, followed by remarks from the International Trade Administration. Dr. Roy Swift, Executive Director of Workcred moderated a panel discussion and live audience discussion.

Panelists and attendees, in person and online, discussed the following questions:

  • How can we work together and learn from each other’s experience to build standards awareness and foster a standards-literate workforce of the future?
  • How can we expand efforts to educate and empower a new standards workforce and be more inclusive of additional stakeholders, such as start-ups, small- and medium-sized companies, academia, and members of civil society?
  • What standards development information, guidance, training, educational tools and assistance are needed to reach a more diverse audience?

U.S. Semiconductor Jobs 

In a fireside chat, Dr. Locascio spoke about anticipated workforce demands following the U.S. government’s investment of more than $50 billion to bring semiconductor manufacturing back from overseas through the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, with a projected 100,000 to 200,000 job openings in the coming years.

Expanding Standards Education

Panelists discussed the importance of expanding education and training efforts to communities and individuals beyond those who are typically involved in standards development. Suggested strategies include conducting outreach to students in majors outside of engineering, and mentorship programs that pursue diverse participants from underrepresented groups. Wide-reaching training initiatives will help fill gaps in the workforce, while supporting the development of high-quality and technically-sound standards.

Panelists and attendees also spoke on the best methods to deliver standards education. Some felt that academic programs should weave standards education into existing programs, with an emphasis on the value of standardization and its connection to business outcomes. Others spoke about succession planning for the next generation of standards professionals and standards training in the workplace, as well as the potential benefits of developing a well-defined, intentional career path for standards professionals.

View the agendapresentation, and video recording of the event.


Created April 16, 2024