STEMing the Tide: NGC Pitching In
On Sept 24/08, DID’s “AIA Concerned By Future Shortage of Qualified American Aerospace Workers” gave voice to a long-standing concern in the American aerospace industry – and added some alarming figures to the debate. Good STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education is the foundation, but by Grade 12, American youths have fallen from solid international competitiveness in Grade 4 to a position that’s near the bottom among advanced countries. When this trend, and college graduate composition, are coupled with a rapidly-aging aerospace workforce, AIA is right to be concerned.
The industry association is undertaking a “Launch Into Aerospace” program to help stem the tide, and other industry players have also been chipping in. Raytheon’s “Math Moves U” program is well known. Firms like Pitsco are offering innovative curriculum solutions that include everything from its Engineering Academy packaged program for high school students, to smaller educational toys that are promoted by the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association’s foundation.
Over the past month, a pair of releases from Northrop Grumman shine a light on some of that firm’s efforts to improve the quality of STEM education in its local communities, including a very innovative facility and a financial grant program for schools…
An early Jan 7/09 release focused on the firm’s work with the Junior Achievement organization, sponsoring and helping to set up a STEM Lab as part of JA BizTown in Owings Mills, MD. The innovative 10,000 square foot miniature town has a wide range of activities, but the STEM Lab is the newest element in its 50-year history. Attendance at JA BizTown is the culmination of a 4-week, in-class curriculum that encompasses financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship, while providing a strong focus on social studies, reading, writing and mathematics skills.
A Jan 28/09 release announced that Northrop Grumman has awarded 5 gulf coast school districts near its Pascagoula shipyard STEM project grants of $5,000 each, to be used in a middle school within their district.
Schools interested in participating in the firm’s STEM grant program can read the company’s contributions guidelines and application, which are reviewed as they are received, and must be submitted no later than Aug 31/09.