Boeing's investment to develop diverse students takes flight

Boeing's partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund is giving the students the education they need, and Boeing the talent it needs, to be a pioneer in the future.

November 01, 2018 in Community

Oneekah Hall, a sophomore international major at Howard University and a Boeing-Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) partnership scholar, says attending Howard is the best surprise decision she has ever made.

For as long as she can remember, attending University of California, Berkeley was Hall’s dream. To keep her options open, she also applied to Howard during her senior year of high school. Two visits to Washington, D.C., later, and she couldn’t imagine going anywhere else.

On the last night of her second visit, sitting across the table from her mother at dinner and receiving her acceptance email from Berkeley, she knew where she wanted to be.

“The education, the mentorship, the opportunities, the culture, the campus — it’s all unmatched at Howard,” she said. “The sense of community that you get at a school like this, the academic rigor and clear path for success — I knew it’s where I needed to be to have the life I want.”

Adonis Rucker, a sophomore civil engineering major at North Carolina A&T State University, who also is a Boeing-TMCF scholar, said those are the things that drew him to a historically black university, to TMCF and to Boeing, and they are the foundation of his career ahead.

“I know I can take what I’m getting here to make a difference,” he said. “My school, TMCF and Boeing all have three things in common — they are focused on success, innovation and giving back. For me to be immersed in the middle of three institutions that are giving me the skills and opportunities I need to grow and be successful in my engineering dream is invaluable.”

Earlier this year, Boeing announced a $6 million partnership with TMCF. The fund provides students with scholarships and internships to historically black colleges and universities (HBCU), immersive boot-camp experiences at Boeing sites across the United States and on-campus engagements that provide collaboration opportunities for students, faculty and administrators.

“We make investments like this because our most valuable resource is our people, and we’ll succeed only if we can continue to attract forward-thinking innovators,” said Chairman, President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg, who received this year’s TMCF CEO of the Year award.

As a result of U.S. tax reform, Boeing is investing an extra $300 million into its people, workplaces and local communities. The partnership is part of Boeing’s $100 million investment aimed at training and development, building on the strong culture of continuous learning at Boeing.

Hall and Rucker are two of 16 Boeing-TMCF scholars, who also participate in the Boeing management rotation program. If they perform successfully in a summer internship after their junior year, they’ll be offered positions for full-time employment after they graduate and will be eligible to continue their scholarships during their senior year.

“I know TMCF is really excited about this partnership, and Boeing is, too,” said Ted Colbert, chief information officer for Boeing and a board member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. “It is focused on the development of some very bright minds, and it highlights exactly what TMCF aims to do ... connect HBCU scholars with companies, like Boeing, that value diversity and the wealth of talent on HBCU campuses.”