- Boeing has has announced that it will partner with the National Science Foundation (NSF) for workforce development and to improve diversity in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. The $21 million partnership will be funded by an $11 million donation from Boeing to fuel training initiatives and bolster diversity in STEM.
- With $10 million of Boeing's funding, NSF will create online curriculum for learning in higher education. The NSF's Directorate for Education and Human Resources will add $10 million in awards focused on increasing competencies and reskilling the U.S. workforce.
- The final $1 million Boeing donation will fund the NSF's "Big Idea" initiative, which seeks to increase female representation in STEM fields. With these funds, NSF will grant awards to programs that meet the needs of women — especially veterans, it said — entering or returning to STEM careers.
The high-profile partnership between Boeing and the NSF highlights how the STEM skills gap has brought business and government together. Those called to come up with solutions have their work cut out for them. Analysts say unfilled STEM jobs could be the result of outdated views of manufacturing combined with a lack of information about career opportunities. The field often does not draw upon a diverse range of candidates, nor does it boast a welcoming recruiting process for women, some say. As business leaders struggle to staff companies, some have moved to provide educational opportunities of better quality to more people.
Many have done so by partnering with educational institutions, too. General Electric Co., for example, established the Brilliant Career Lab in partnership with Boston Public Schools last year. A $25 million investment, it aimed to prepare a generation of students to work in STEM careers at GE. IBM runs its own STEM high school in Brooklyn, New York. More than 500 students attended the school, Pathways for Technology Early College High School, in the 2016-2017 school year. And John Deere sponsored an IT academy in Iowa to prepare high schoolers for STEM paths with hands-on experience, mentors and training.