In 2012, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology released a report detailing some alarming trends in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education in the United States. The report found the U.S. will need one million more STEM professionals than we are currently producing over the next 10 years to remain competitive in the global science and technology marketplace.
As a company whose success is driven by its workforce, Lockheed Martin is keenly aware of the vital importance of STEM education. As a generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians begins to retire, the important technology positions they leave are becoming increasingly difficult to fill with new talent. This is disturbing for many reasons. STEM education prepares students for high-impact jobs that drive growth in the economy. STEM professionals create the technology that will shape the future of communications, energy, infrastructure and healthcare. And our national defense is built on the technological advantages afforded us by a strong pipeline of STEM-educated workers.
At Lockheed Martin, our engineers, scientists and mathematicians make a difference every single day. They lead the industry in innovation – from exploring the far reaches of space, to fighting cyber-criminals, to building the world’s only multi-mission 5th generation fighter jet. As industry leaders and role models, we need to help students from all backgrounds see the benefits of pursuing these careers, the importance of this work to our nation, and how fulfilling STEM careers can be. We also need to actively encourage more women and minorities to pursue these vital careers.
As business leaders, how can we build a stronger future for STEM? Success depends on collaboration among industries, educators, policy makers and families. Lockheed Martin is committed to working with these groups to develop programs that educate and inspire tomorrow’s scientists, engineers and mathematicians. Our future success and our nation’s technological advantage depend on a robust pool of highly-trained, highly-capable technical talent. As a corporation, we are committed to supporting programs, events and campaigns that focus on student achievement and teacher development to further our nation’s STEM education agenda.
At Lockheed Martin, our Hispanic community is integral to our STEM education efforts. Each year, our Hispanic Leadership Council hosts forums focused on addressing critical issues affecting the Hispanic community and our industry. This year, the Council accepted the challenge to strengthen STEM education in the United States, particularly in underserved communities. Additionally, our local chapters of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers continually advocate for STEM education in local communities and champion a number of important STEM outreach events throughout the year.
Lockheed Martin also partners closely with a number of leading Hispanic STEM-education organizations. We are closely aligned with Great Minds in STEM and are thrilled to join forces with their K-12 project, Viva Technology™. We’ve been the founding sponsor of the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference (HENAAC) since its inception 25 years ago, and we’re partners with the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering and the Hispanic College Fund, among many other leading organizations.
Our Hispanic employees are shining examples of what is arguably the most important and impactful method of advancing STEM: mentoring. Our Hispanic employee groups are very active in our “Engineers in the Classroom” K-12 STEM education outreach initiative, and our HENAAC-award-winning engineers regularly participate in one-on-one mentoring with local students. Kelly Aviation Center in San Antonio, Texas, which is operated by Lockheed Martin, is the home of a nationally recognized apprenticeship program with the Alamo Academies, an innovative education platform and work placement program that provides high school students with a seamless transition into technical career fields.
At Lockheed Martin, we recognize our people are the key to building a bright future. Thanks to our mathematicians, scientists, engineers, and highly skilled workforce, we’ve built a 100-year legacy of challenging the impossible and charting new horizons. There’s no doubt that growing this talent pipeline with a diverse candidate pool will be the key to our success – and the success of our nation – for the next 100 years. Though we’ve made great strides, there is much more to do to ensure we build a bright future for our families, our communities, and our world.
Marillyn Hewson is the CEO and President of the Lockheed Martin Corporation..