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NDIA Endorses SME Education Foundation
June 27, 2008

As members of the Baby Boomer generation retire and the number of skilled workers in America declines, one sector expected to feel the pinch is the defense industry. To help address this problem, the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) is endorsing the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Education Foundation and its efforts.

U.S. industries including defense, homeland security and aerospace face the challenge of replacing some of the most important and most technical jobs relevant to the country’s national security. The issue relates to the core of what the SME Education Foundation is doing through youth outreach and its promotion of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects to increase the pipeline of engineers and manufacturing workers.

Foreseeing the impending worker shortage, the NDIA has started taking steps to address the problem. It recently established a STEM Workforce Division to focus on measures to increase the supply of STEM employees who can qualify for high-level security clearances. By leveraging its many resources, as well as working with the government and educational organizations, such as the SME Education Foundation, NDIA’s intent is to raise awareness of the issue among its members and encourage them to get involved.

In addition to its Gateway Academy programs, which are week-long day camps for secondary students using teachers from the nonprofit STEM-education program Project Lead the Way, the SME Education Foundation runs the Summer Aerospace Institute, which is taking place in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

High school students participating in the institute will take part in NASA’s Space Station Alpha aerospace curriculum, learn from aerospace engineers from U.S. Northern Command, use the latest Satellite Tool Kit software from Analytical Graphics, Inc. and learn about career opportunities in the aerospace industry. Students who complete the institute will earn two elective credits from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

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