You are hereLockheed's Sonya Stewart talks STEM
Lockheed's Sonya Stewart talks STEM
We all hear about the importance of bolstering STEM education – increasing the number of students with expertise in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. But why does it really matter that much to businesses?
I asked Sonya Stewart, vice president of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s Information Systems & Global Solutions-Civil division, who is also one of 2012 recipients of Washington Business Journal’s Minority Business Leader Awards. Stewart spoke to students at D.C.’s Cardozo Senior High School Thursday about various careers in engineering, transportation, aviation and construction.
This is what she had to say:
We hear a lot about STEM from the contracting community. What’s the vested interest?
There are many critical challenges facing our nation that engineers, scientists and technologists tackle every day: from protecting our financial markets and energy utilities from cybersecurity threats to supporting law enforcement with cutting-edge identification tools. Studies show that there is an impending wave of retirements coming from baby boomer STEM professionals. Industry can help our partners in K-12 and higher education to fuel excitement and interest in STEM.
Similarly, are there here-and-now benefits to investing in STEM, versus the more obvious long-term benefits of bolstering the workforce?
We have numerous openings right now for careers with STEM backgrounds. Preparing and constantly fueling the near-term workforce is crucial to our business, customers and the global economy. More than 80 percent of our talent and skill needs are for technical talent in engineering and IT, specifically systems engineering, computer science, electrical/mechanical engineering and aerospace engineering.
What tangible benefit does a company like Lockheed Martin see from its investment of time and resources in this issue?
This is a long-term and near-term investment in our workforce and the global economy that fuels technology innovation in areas such as cybersecurity, energy and health care. More immediately, events like our Industry Day at Cardozo demonstrate to our future workforce that there are exciting, compelling and rewarding career opportunities in the vast array of STEM fields.
Are others in the contracting community engaged enough? Could folks do more?
We believe companies – both large and small, and across divergent industries – can help promote STEM careers through educational partnerships and by opening their doors to students to see firsthand the work that we do every day. Attracting highly skilled workers is not about increasing a company’s bottom line – it’s a national imperative.
Washington Business Journal, May 11, 2012