Boeing and NSF unite to develop a stronger STEM workforce.
By Janet De La Torre, Boeing Writer
Similar to other high-tech companies, Boeing’s talent strategy focuses its efforts on a number of challenges, including the forecast shortage of skilled workers in critical areas.
In its continued effort to develop the future workforce and modernize employee learning, Boeing is partnering with the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide employees with training and development in critical-skill areas. The investment focuses on model-based engineering, model-based systems engineering, mechatronics, robotics, data science and sensor analytics, program management, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.
The partnership also will focus on increasing diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers.
Anthony Falteisek, a supply chain specialist at Boeing Global Services who completed his Master of Science degree in business analytics through online courses and Boeing’s Learning Together Program, was excited to learn about the Boeing and NSF partnership.
Through the Learning Together Program, employees can pursue degree programs, professional certificates and individual courses in strategic fields of study at more than 270 quality colleges and universities.
“Workforce development investments are one of the steps we can take to help current employees grow,” Falteisek said. “The real value in online coursework is the variety and flexibility.”
Boeing is investing $10 million in the NSF initiative, complemented by another $10 million from the NSF, to create online microcertificates at the community college, undergraduate, graduate and professional levels for employees and students.
The NSF will leverage its established network of academic institutions to solicit proposals and then grade on intellectual merit. It will select and award contracts to develop the certificates that best address future skills gaps.
The online curriculum is expected to launch in 2019. At that time, certificates would become available for credit to community college, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as Boeing employees. Continuing education units are available to students with verified credentials, or they can audit for free.
“This investment demonstrates Boeing’s commitment to developing the future workforce and our current employees’ skills,” said Heidi Capozzi, senior vice president of Human Resources at Boeing. “The initiatives will help develop more technical workers and provide research opportunities for women and veterans seeking to join or return to the STEM workforce.”
Boeing is making a separate gift of $1 million to NSF’s INCLUDES (Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science) initiative. This initiative supports research and development regarding opportunities for women who have been out of the workforce and seek to successfully return to employment in STEM fields. The investment aligns with a Boeing program that provides internships to midcareer female professionals returning to work after a leave of absence.
According to the latest figures from the U.S. National Science Board’s Science and Engineering Indicators, the number of jobs requiring substantial STEM expertise has grown nearly 34 percent over the past decade. However, employers nationwide say they are having trouble filling jobs in occupations that depend on skilled technical workers.
Those initiatives further Boeing’s pledge to allocate $300 million to its employees, infrastructure and local communities as a result of U.S. tax reform savings. In support of employee development, Boeing launched a digital learning portal earlier this year hosted by Degreed.com, which offered personalized and unlimited access to online lessons, certification courses and degree programs.