For more than a decade, Boeing has been a stalwart supporter of the programs and other STEM education initiatives offered by the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering (TAME). This year, we thank Boeing for a generous $100,000 donation, which will go miles—literally—towards bringing STEM experiences like the TAME Trailblazer to communities all across Texas.
Are we thankful? You bet! TAME’s industry partners support our educational programs because they know the value of a diverse, job-ready, local workforce. A workforce that looks like Texas—with a diverse range of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds, birthplaces, gender, worldviews, and skillsets—is a workforce that is ready to address any challenge and solve any problem. As we’ve noted elsewhere, workforce diversity benefits employers: according to recent research, for example, mixed-gender teams achieve 40% more patents than all-male teams, while gender diversity at the management level results in a $42 million increase in the value of S&P 500 firms.
When students are encouraged to pursue careers in STEM, everybody wins. As baby boomers retire and new jobs are created, employers are already struggling to find skilled workers. A recent report from the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute predicts that the number of STEM jobs in Texas will increase by 22% by 2018, with almost all of these jobs requiring post-secondary education and training. The same researchers note that by 2020, at current production rates for workers with post-secondary educations, the US workforce will be short by 5 million people.
Communities benefit, too. TAME programs show kids a way to challenging, rewarding careers. Even for students who don’t want to be engineers, STEM education teaches 21st century skills: how to think creatively, analyze complex situations quickly, and solve problems. STEM education creates not just engineers, but engaged, curious and optimistic community members.
Take Tony Castilleja as an example. He’s an engineer at Boeing, working in the space exploration department that is creating the spacecraft that will explore Mars. This year, he delivered a rousing speech to students at TAME’s State STEM Competition in San Antonio. One of the questions he answered was this: how did a kid from Baytown, Texas get to work on the spacecraft that will take us to Mars? Tony credits his mother, who gave him some good advice early on: “La llave del éxito es la educación.” TAME students—and employers like Boeing—know that Tony’s mother is right. “Education is the key to success.” That success is shared by individuals, communities, and businesses.
How do we make sure our future STEM professionals are ready for Boeing by 2025? Boeing’s gift will help TAME to strengthen the education-to-employment pipeline that connects Texas students to challenging, rewarding opportunities in STEM. Together, we’ll launch the next generation of STEM professionals. Together, we’ll build something better.
Join Boeing in making a difference. Visit our Get Involved page to see how you can help make sure TAME programs stay free for all Texas students.
By Jessie Temple