Last week I had the pleasure of attending a dinner in Baltimore honoring the 26 recipients of college scholarships received from Northrop Grumman, a large defense contractor with offices in Sykesville. My son was one of the recipients of a scholarship, which will help defray the cost of his attending MIT for the next four years. He and the other honorees will be attending colleges around the country, studying in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Northrop Grumman has given out millions of dollars over the last 11 years to high school seniors who seek degrees in these areas. Northrop is also involved in the nationally recognized High School Involvement Partnership (HIP), where high school students begin internships providing on-the-job-training, helping to transition to the working world. HIP students get a sense of what it takes to succeed in a business environment as they work one day per month side-by-side with Northrop Grumman employees who volunteer as instructors.
In making these investments in education, Northrop Grumman has created a win-win situation for their company. Small business owners should take note and create opportunities like this that suit their particular business.
Socially conscious organization
A socially conscious business has been defined as one that tries to change economies for the better while running a successful for-profit business. Northrop Grumman has a varied business model, and one of its divisions makes radar systems for military and civilian use. They employ many engineers and scientists. Giving out college scholarships and investing in high school programs that promote education in the STEM areas has led to better educational opportunities for scores of students in the state. Their investment in statewide programs has changed the Maryland economy for the better by giving students an edge in the global employment market place.
Creating their own labor pool
The recipients of these STEM scholarships ultimately receive degrees in engineering, math, science and technology.
These scholarships include internship opportunities at Northrop Grumman over the course of their four year undergraduate studies. Ultimately, the degrees and their on-the-job experience qualify these students for positions at Northrop Grumman and companies like theirs in Maryland and around the country. By investing in the early education of these potential employees, the company obtains a head start in luring these highly educated and trained scientists and engineers to their organization.
Dr. Lillian Lowery, the Maryland State Superintendent of Schools, was the guest speaker at the dinner last week, and praised Northrop Grumman for their investment of money and effort in Maryland students.
In her speech, she repeated one of her favorite quotes, attributed to Whitney M. Young Jr., who said that "it is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one, than to have an opportunity and not be prepared." While Lowery was encouraging the high school students in the audience to continue their education, her quote also applied to Northrop Grumman. As a business, their investment in the future workforce prepared them for the opportunity to grow their company or replace retirees for years to come.
As a small business owner, look for those win-win ways to give back to your community. If you create opportunities (and even a future labor pool) for your company, you'll be on the right path.