The professional engineer of the 21st century must have a holistic view of his/her world, and recognize that continuing education is vital for maintenance of professional competitiveness.. Engineering education has generally responded to workforce technology needs which have traditionally changed rather slowly. Today’s professional engineer must be prepared to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex physical, legal, technical, and social climate with which he/she is confronted. Accordingly, today’s engineering education system is structured to prepare graduates for life-long learning, by placing greater emphasis on the learning process.

In the 21st century, workforce technology and demands are changing at an extremely rapid pace, and in order to remain current, the modern engineering professional must adapt to those rapid changes. Within this environment, expertise in a single discipline or technology is no longer considered adequate for the professional engineer, since he/she must be comfortable working in multi-disciplinary teams, be capable of integrating a broad range of knowledge, and working across intellectual boundaries.

The modern engineer must understand the global marketplace and its working environment, and in so doing develop an international perspective, and be prepared for participation in international projects. He/she must appreciate the issues relating to sustainability, and design accordingly to address the concerns. The engineer is expected to maintain a broad perspective, and be prepared to adjust to the rapid, dynamic changes which are encountered.

This paper identifies some of the reasons for the pursuit of continuing education, and reviews options which are available to the practicing engineer in Florida, with particular emphasis on opportunities offered by the University of Florida.

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