Original Press Release
National Defense Industrial Association Endorses SME Education Foundation
Press release date: July 6, 2008
National Defense Industrial Association Endorses SME Education Foundation as Part of Its Effort to Increase the Pipeline of Engineering and Manufacturing Workers
"We have chosen to promote SME Education Foundation programs to our corporate and individual members, chapters, divisions and affiliates due to their strong record of achievement."
DEARBORN, Mich., July 6, 2008 - As members of the Baby Boomer generation retire and the number of skilled workers in America declines, one sector expected to feel the pinch is the defense industry. To help address this problem, the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) is endorsing the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Education Foundation and its efforts.
U.S. industries including defense, homeland security and aerospace face the challenge of replacing some of the most important and most technical jobs relevant to the country's national security. The issue relates to the core of what the SME Education Foundation is doing through youth outreach and its promotion of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects to increase the pipeline of engineers and manufacturing workers.
Foreseeing the impending worker shortage, the NDIA has started taking steps to address the problem. It recently established a STEM Workforce Division to bring in more STEM employees who will qualify for high-level security clearances by leveraging its many resources, as well as working with the government and educational organizations, such as the SME Education Foundation.
"NDIA's endorsement of the SME Education Foundation and its efforts to advance STEM education is a natural extension of our own corporate STEM Initiative," said Lawrence P. Farrell, NDIA's president and CEO. "We have chosen to promote SME Education Foundation programs to our corporate and individual members, chapters, divisions and affiliates due to their strong record of achievement and because they offer a variety of ways for interested parties to become personally and professionally involved."
"Moreover, our endorsement of the SME Education Foundation is based on our two organizations' commonly held view that enhancing America's science, technology, engineering and math skills is essential to building a future U.S. workforce that can compete globally and contribute to our national security. We are confident our new relationship with the SME Education Foundation will benefit our common goal of increasing the number and quality of young people entering the skilled workforce in technical fields that are crucial to our nation's security."
"The NDIA is the leading trade organization for the defense industries, and they understand firsthand the pipeline problems our country faces regarding skilled workers," said Bart Aslin, director of the SME Education Foundation. "Our STEM-based efforts are increasing awareness of these industries and creating interest in them for our next generation's career fields."
In addition to its Gateway Academy programs - which are week-long day camps for secondary students using teachers from the nonprofit STEM-education program Project Lead the Way - the SME Education Foundation runs the Summer Aerospace Institute, which is taking place in Colorado Springs, Colo., in June.
Students participating in the institute will take part in NASA's Mission Alpha aerospace curriculum, learn from aerospace engineers from U.S. Northern Command, use the latest Satellite Tool Kit software from Analytical Graphics, Inc. and learn about career opportunities in the aerospace industry. Students who complete the institute will earn two elective credits from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
"Both our employees and customer base are highly technical," said Tina Cox, training engineer with Analytical Graphics, Inc. "We absolutely see the necessity of inspiring students to get interested in STEM fields. I believe that any technology-oriented company who plans to still be in business in 15 years has an obligation to get involved in educational programs."
About the National Defense Industrial Association:
The National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) is America's leading defense industry association promoting national security. With 1,460 member companies and 57,800 individual members, the NDIA includes four self-sustaining affiliate associations, 52 chapters and 32 functionally oriented divisions. The NDIA represents a broad constituency across the defense, aerospace and homeland security industries. Its mission is to advocate cutting edge technology and superior weapons, equipment, training, and support for the war fighter and first responder; promote a vigorous and responsive government-industry national security team; and provide ethical forums for the exchange of information between government and industry on national security issues.
About the SME Education Foundation:
The Education Foundation was created by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 1979 as a means of transforming manufacturing education in North American colleges and universities. The Society of Manufacturing Engineers Education Foundation is one of the nation's leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to advancing manufacturing education. Its approach is to inspire youth to pursue careers in manufacturing; to support students studying for a career in an engineering-related field; and prepare these students to participate in a global economy. The Foundation has provided more than $24 million in grants, scholarships and awards. Visit www.sme.org/foundation.