Why Engineering Matters

Our lives are increasingly defined by and dependent on technology—technology that is evolving at a breathtaking pace. To be able to think critically about technology and to make informed decisions about its development and use are essential skills for Americans in the 21st century.

Our society not only needs a large and vibrant engineering workforce, but also a population that understands the essential characteristics of technology, how it is developed, and how it influences society. Providing exposure to the engineering in PreK-12 education may be one of the most potent ways to ensure that happens.

The world in which we live and work today was shaped and is maintained through engineering. It is the process by which we, as a society, modify our environment to suit our needs and wants. As we have become more dependent on technology, engineering had become more important to our daily lives. Engineers and engineering are essential to us in many different ways.


 Engineers can help improve our health by developing better ways of storing, analyzing, and communicating health information and by helping design more effective drugs and medical treatments.

Produced by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine



Engineers are critical to advancing technologies that will allow individuals to work, learn, and play in new and interesting ways.

Produced by The Academies



As more of our work and personal life is captured on digital media, we need new and better ways to protect our information and property. Engineers securing cyberspace are protecting not only our personal information, but also critical infrastructure—power systems, water and transportation systems, and financial markets.

Produced by The Academies



Sustainability is the quality of supporting human civilization in ways that do not cause irreparable harm to the environment or fully deplete natural resources. Engineers in many different disciplines are working on technologies that will our quality of life while supporting the planet’s long-term ecological balance.

Produced by The Academies

Engineering experiences support learning in different subject areas when done well. They help children make connections between classroom subject matter and the real-world. This in turn can increase student interest and encourage deeper understanding of the material on which students are assessed through standardized testing.



Produced by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine