Boeing Frontiers
October 2002 
Volume 01, Issue 06 
Top Stories Inside Quick Takes Site Tools
My View

Shaping the workforce of the future

Phil Condit
Chairman and CEO

Phil ConditWe live in a very competitive, rapidly changing world where one thing is inevitable: progress.

The challenge for Boeing as a company in the years ahead is either we make progress — or we get left behind. In today's business world, once you become non-essential, you're gone. Someone else comes and takes your place.

These same forces are changing the nature of our workplace and most of our jobs — slowly, subtly, but changing them nonetheless. For example, advances in information technology are adding a whole new dimension to the workplace that likely will affect you whether you work on the factory floor, in an office, in supplier management, in engineering or anywhere else.

What will the workplace look like 20 to 30 years from now? Nobody knows, exactly. Will jobs be different? Clearly. Will it be exciting? Absolutely. I think it's going to be a fantastic time.

If we do it right, if we continue Boeing's transformation into a balanced, agile and global aerospace company, this company truly will be an exciting place to work — with our people creating new products, new capabilities. Boeing people will be doing more great things, things that change the world, much as our products changed the 20th century.

With progress will come the opportunity for individual employees to have more freedom, more mobility, a better chance to live where they want to and in ways they find more attractive. Indeed, the very breadth and depth of Boeing means that an employee could have several careers within the company during his or her lifetime — for example, from customer service to accounting to administration to becoming a lawyer.

Being ready for the opportunities of tomorrow is a primary reason Boeing makes available a wide range of training and educational programs for employee development. It's a strategy that fosters "lifelong employability," because no company can guarantee lifelong employment.

For example, Boeing offers thousands of in-house training courses, from industrial skills to certification classes to computing. These courses are easily accessible either as classroom instruction, self-paced learning online, on Boeing Education Network television, or through courses at facilities such as the Boeing Leadership Center.

Boeing's Learning Together tuition reimbursement stands foremost among these. It is one of the best tuition reimbursement programs going, with virtually no restrictions on what you can learn.

Boeing established Learning Together four years ago because the Boeing Board of Directors, senior management and I believe it is extremely important that people be open to and take advantage of learning throughout their lifetimes.

The old paradigm was one of going to school when you were young — through high school, through college and graduate school if you chose to — and when you finished your career you were done.

Today, we've arrived at a place where major changes are occurring inside of a career. New tools are available almost daily. We're working in more collaborative ways, as parts of networks, and often 'working virtually' with people located far away. Because of the rapid rate of change, lifelong learning is going to be absolutely essential. Boeing people should keep adding knowledge and capability and increasing their understanding.

Through the Learning Together program, Boeing is saying, "Go out and learn. Learn new things that are very exciting to you. It doesn't matter whether it's a new skill or a new area, what's most important is the fact that you are always learning."

Yes, some people question learning things that aren't going to apply at Boeing. And yes, the knowledge and capabilities one gains through Learning Together may lead you to a very different career. But we've got to take that risk.

The reason: We have to provide a company where people find it exciting to work, one where people will choose to remain and flourish. If we do it right, the opportunity is that we will employ a lot of people doing a lot of exciting things and making a difference to the world. And that's a pretty exciting vision.


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