Boeing is awarding $6 million in grants to more than 50 nonprofits and education institutions in Washington.
The grants are geared toward programs that enhance STEM education and workforce training, and educational and career pathway opportunities for students – particularly for underserved students who historically have not pursued these career paths. Included in the grants are $1 million to further expand horizons for students seeking a STEM education and enhanced learning opportunities at local universities.
Boeing expects a substantial portion of its Washington workforce to retire during the next several years and is working to ensure that students in the state have the education and skills to fill these jobs. The grants are part of Boeing’s ongoing commitment to Washington to prepare local students for the opportunities being created in the state.
“Boeing will be a significant jobs provider in Washington for decades to come. Our hope and goal is that those future jobs will continue to be filled by kids who grow up right here,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner.
“We are working hard today to give Washington students opportunities for employment within aerospace, manufacturing and other STEM-related fields when they graduate. Despite the always dynamic aerospace industry, Boeing remains consistent in its investment in our future here in Washington.”
The university grants are being distributed to three Washington universities. The University of Washington is receiving $500,000 to help under-represented high school students attend and succeed at UW. This includes support for the Dream Project, which trains UW students to mentor first-generation and low-income high school students.
“The University of Washington has a long, proud partnership with Boeing, dating back to the founding of the company a century ago. This gift continues that tradition and will help more students realize their potential, whether that’s thanks to mentors from the Dream Project or the experiences they have during an alternative spring break. We’re grateful to Boeing for its support of students throughout our University and across our state,” said University of Washington president Ana Mari Cauce.
Washington State University (WSU) is receiving $250,000 to support new coursework and equip new labs at the WSU North Puget Sound at Everett campus, currently scheduled to open in 2017. The campus’ new Fabrication Lab will be named the Boeing Innovation Studio.
“WSU established a presence in North Puget Sound to be able to deliver ready-to-work employees directly to the aerospace industry and other advanced manufacturing industries in our region,” said WSU president Kirk Schulz. “This generous gift from The Boeing Company will allow us to equip our new building in Everett with the type of sophisticated technologies our students will be working with once they enter the workforce."
Seattle University (SU) will receive a grant of $250,000 for the College of Science and Engineering to improve retention rates of non-traditional students in SU’s undergraduate engineering and computer science programs.
“Seattle University is grateful to receive this significant and generous gift from The Boeing Company,” said Stephen Sundborg, S.J., president. “Boeing's gift recognizes the commitment Seattle U has made to be a leader in recruiting and retaining women and people of color in our engineering and computer science programs. The gift also complements ongoing initiatives at the university to be a model for diversity and inclusive excellence, both of which go hand-in-hand with educational excellence.”
The additional $5 million in grants ranging from $25,000 to $550,000 are designed to provide a continuum of learning and education resources for Washington’s younger residents.
Some of the largest of those grants will support: Thrive Washington and its focus upon early learning; Washington STEM and its K12 learning initiatives; and SkillUp Washington’s manufacturing pathways partnership with community and technical colleges.
By Deborah Feldman