MGE assistant professor Isabel Barton delivered a keynote talk at the Missouri University of Science and Technology's 3rd Annual Workshop for the Resilient Supply of Critical Minerals. Barton discussed the roadblocks and opportunities for developing the critical minerals workforce.
Barton explained how the number of mining engineering graduates have been declining in the past decade, and increasingly intensive recruitment efforts are showing limited returns.
"It warrants some in-depth thinking on what exactly are the roadblocks to getting students into these programs and what if anything can we do about it?" Barton said. "What we found is the real key to increasing interest in mining, metallurgy and probably geology as well is really interest. Interest is what drives students into not just engineering, but a particular type of engineering. Unfortunately it's also one of the hardest to spark... Some possible solutions are really to beef up the K-12 grades. If you can address a high school class and get content into the classrooms, do it."