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Standards Education Vital for Global Business Needs, Says Asia-Pacific Economic Group

From NIST Tech Beat March 15, 2011

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Contact: Ben Stein
(301) 975-3097

In just a few months, millions of young adults will graduate from college and step into productive careers in the global economy. Meanwhile, those already involved in standardization, particularly in the engineering and technology sectors, and increasingly those with policy, legal, and business backgrounds, are working in a new environment where standards play a crucial role in international trade and competitiveness. But according to the attendees of a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Subcommittee on Standards and Conformance, comparatively few new graduates will begin their careers with a working knowledge of the standardization infrastructure that underpins and impacts more than 80 percent of worldwide-commodity trade. At the same time, a large fraction of new participants in standards relies heavily on on-the-job training to engage in the process.

“Standards education at the university level and in the professional environment is vital because standards and conformance play a critical role in the economy, impacting over 13 trillion dollars in commodity trade on an annual basis,” said S. Joe Bhatia, president and CEO of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in his keynote address to the APEC audience.

“Put simply, effective utilization of standards and conformance promotes technological interoperability and drives the global competitiveness of businesses. A new graduate or professional who is familiar with the standards relevant to their industry and how the standards system works is a strategic asset to their employer.”

“To advance our objectives in standards education, we need to share best practices on our wide range of approaches, both at the university and the workplace levels, and exchange information so that the teaching of standards incorporates the wide variety of policy, legal, and business environments in our region,” said Patrick Gallagher, Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), who addressed the meeting participants during a luncheon keynote address. “Achieving some convergence on how we approach standards education will be beneficial in our close work together in the future as our economies become more interdependent.”

Held in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 28, 2011, “Opportunities and Challenges for Education on Standardization in Universities” was a joint meeting of the APEC Subcommittee’s Project Advisory Group on Education and ANSI’s Committee on Education. In total, more than 100 leaders from government agencies, industry, and prominent universities from APEC economies were in attendance to discuss strategies for more effective standards education in the Asia-Pacific region.

Read more at “Key Asia-Pacific Officials, Experts Discuss Critical Importance of Standards Education,” (March 4, 2011, at www.nist.gov/director/sco/standards-education-030411.cfm.)