Raytheon is hiring 4,500 engineers this year but can’t find enough qualified candidates. “That’s a frightening problem for a company like ours,” CEO William Swanson said in remarks prepared for a speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce this week.
Thirty percent of the four million Americans in ninth grade in 2001 dropped out of high school, Swanson said. And fewer than 280,000 majored in a technical field in college, and only 167,000 will earn a scientific or technical degree by 2011. And a mere 64,000 will become engineers. “Compared to China, India, and other parts of the world,” he said, “it’s a drop in the bucket.”