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Partner Perspectives: Building a Robust Pipeline of Talent

By Ted Imes, Sector Director, Talent Discovery & University Relations, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems

Ted Imes, Sector Director, Talent Discovery & University Relations Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems

Ted Imes, Sector Director, Talent Discovery & University Relations Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems

Over the past two decades, we have found that a great way to increase the rate of STEM education in this country is to work multiple approaches across the entire education spectrum–from pre-kindergarten up through post-secondary education. That includes our engineers visiting elementary, middle and high schools to lead lively hands-on activities, and it equally includes holding summer workshops for middle school math and science teachers, among other programs. Students and teachers routinely tour our facilities to see engineering in the real world.

This week, Northrop Grumman awarded college scholarships valued at approximately $560,000 to 40 graduating seniors across the state of Maryland through its High School Involvement Partnership (HIP) and Engineering Scholars programs.  HIP seniors have worked with Northrop Grumman mentors during monthly visits to our facilities and completed creative engineering-related projects.  Engineering Scholars honors one outstanding senior in each of Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City that will study a STEM discipline in college.

As the largest industrial employer in Maryland, Northrop Grumman seeks to hire recent graduates with STEM degrees every year.  While the availability of such new talent is important to us, it is also vital to the United States – for our technological leadership, for our economic well-being, and for our national security.  Hence we’ve put together a strategic approach to developing a pipeline of talent for the future.

What we have learned more recently is that the key to building a robust pipeline of talent is to remain connected to these students.  We have awarded millions of dollars in scholarships since the late 1990s, and the recipients have been grateful.  But it can mean much more to encourage return visits, offer internships, and provide early rotational options for new hires.

In the bigger picture, it also means staying connected to colleges and universities.  Partnerships between academia and industry are critical.  We are particularly proud of our long-standing educational partnership with the Maryland State Department of Education.  Scholarships are important, but so are volunteers and mentors who forge the human connection with students.  The math and science are vital, and STEM programs cannot succeed without them, but showing students that you care can be the glue that binds everything and makes our common goals more achievable.