December 2005/January 2006 
Volume 04, Issue 8 
Special Feature

Field of dreams

One Boeing organization is determined to attract develop and, hire the best engineers. The students it recruits are eager and energetic and will play a key—and diverse—role in Boeing's future work force.


Bernadette NicholasCalifornia State University student Lorenz Griarte came to work alongside Boeing engineers in Long Beach, Calif.—and it opened his eyes to the future.

Bernadette Nicholas, also a Cal State student, was selected for a part-time Boeing job—and developed a keen interest in unmanned vehicles and their mission systems.

"I'm always doing something new," she says. "It's exciting."

What these two young people have in common is that they were recruited and coached by an innovative engineering organization at Boeing in Long Beach, Calif., whose mission is to "develop tomorrow's engineers today." Called Engineering Enterprise Solutions, the group seeks out promising students, and grooms them on-the-job for full-time positions at Boeing by hiring them out to programs needing engineering help.

Led by senior manager Jim Lee, EES has 142 engineers in a variety of disciplines. Its engineers primarily support the C-17 program, but more than 25 commercial, military and space programs at Boeing have used their services. In three years the program has placed more than 40 former students into full-time engineering assignments at Boeing.

"If a program needs engineering support for a particular project, they can contact EES and hire a group of engineers 'by the job,'" Lee says. "It's a great way to allocate resources."

EES engineers provide Boeing with a variety of services that include engineering drawing, CAD modeling and design work.

"The work can be done virtually, so any program out there that finds it's in need of some engineering support can give us a call," Lee says. "Our people are ready to help."

While this approach to services is an established way of getting the job done at Boeing, the group's mission sets it apart.

If you pl–EES

Engineering Enterprise Solutions' approach to resource management, skill development and knowledge transfer is a win-win for everyone because it

• Helps students apply what they learn in school.

• Provides minor engineering work, freeing up experienced engineers for more complex problems.

• Allows Boeing to hire the best engineers, who already have Boeing experience and training, thereby reducing or eliminating orientation, formal training and skill transfer requirements.

EES was founded in 1992. Almost 60 percent of its staff are college students working at Boeing part-time while pursuing engineering degrees. Many learn of the opportunity by word of mouth and find that working at Boeing in their chosen field while going to school makes a lot of sense—for them and Boeing. Local engineering students get hands-on experience, and Boeing cultivates a talented pool of engineers who are able to hit the ground running after graduation.

The students Boeing recruits to work in EES consider the experience "career-defining." And Boeing, in turn, finds that using student engineers effectively shapes the work force of the future.

The college try

Consider Griarte, a former EES student employee and now a full-time Boeing engineer. He always knew he wanted to be an engineer. Griarte's parents worked in science-related fields, and he grew up appreciating the value of education. When a friend told him about EES, he knew he wanted to give it a try.

"Since I was pursuing an engineering degree at Cal State in Long Beach, it made perfect sense to work at Boeing," Griarte says. "Boeing is a technology icon and if an opportunity in this company presents itself, who with a lucid mind would not take it?"

Griarte says working alongside full-time engineers opened his eyes to what his future could be like, and he was pleased with what he saw.

"Working with engineers every single day strengthened my resolve to finish school, because I knew that I could actually do an engineer's job," he says.

Working side by side with full-time Boeing engineers, student engineers learn basic engineering skills and often perform the simple yet time-consuming tasks full-time engineers otherwise would perform. This frees up the senior staffers to solve more complex, challenging issues.

Bernadette Nicholas has worked part-time for EES since October 2004.

Lorenz Griarte"I've learned how to read and write engineering orders. I'm working with a design group modeling parts on the computer using CAD tools," Nicholas says. "It's pretty exciting, because then in class we talk about skills and issues I'm working on at Boeing."

Nicholas already has worked in several groups for EES since coming to Boeing. Those experiences have allowed her to explore her interest in engineering, and lately she has gained an interest in unmanned vehicles and the computer systems they rely on.

"I feel as though I'm always doing something new here," she says. "I'm always learning new processes and ways of approaching a problem, even if it's the same problem."

Inside baseball

Lee equates the student experience to an engineering "farm team," giving students the experience needed before joining the big leagues. This allows Boeing to cultivate a strong employee base by hiring EES student engineers full time.

"EES allows Boeing to hire the best engineers who already have Boeing experience," Lee says. "They know all the Boeing engineering and drawing systems, have taken required training. And they know the company is a good fit for them."

Once the students graduate from college, most want to stay within Boeing, according to Lee. And the success rate for those employees is high. From the first day as Boeing full time employees, those EES-developed student engineers are capable of production, and that ultimately can lead to more satisfied and successful employees.

Griarte, now with eight years of company service under his belt, works with EES student engineers himself.

"It is so refreshing since they are eager to absorb new knowledge, and their sense of idealism is so infectious," Griarte says. "It makes me feel empowered to improve my circle of influence and continue to develop myself through continuing education."


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