The president of the largest employer in Cedar Rapids says his company could move overseas if math and science education does not improve in the United States. Rockwell-Collins president and C.E.O. Clay Jones says there’s a crisis in technology, science, engineering, and math education in this country and while his company has a great workforce now, but that might not be the case in 10 to 15 years.
“Our view is if we don’t do something to fuel this interest in science and math, then not only is America going to lose its way but we as a company are going to have to go elsewhere to find that talent,” Jones says. “That’s why you see a lot of American companies moving to India or moving to China, moving to Eastern Europe where that commitment is there and the recognition of the economic capability science and math brings those countries exists.”
Jones says to spark students’ interest in those important subjects, his company is increasing its commitment to hands on activities like student competitions in technology and robotics. Marion Blakey is with a Washington, D.C. based lobbying group that represents Rockwell-Collins and other companies in the aerospace industry.
“We have always had in the United States a tremendous technological advantage. We’re great innovators and have put forward much of what the world relies on in terms of technology but, frankly, we’re falling behind in science, technology, engineering,” she says. “Our students are not ranking well when you look at them against students from all around the world. We’re almost in last place in some of this.”
Blakey was the keynote speaker at a Rockwell-Collins event this week in Iowa. The Collins Radio Company was founded in Cedar Rapids in 1933, then Rockwell International bought the company in 1973. Rockwell-Collins employs about 10-thousand people in the state of Iowa.