Engineering our Future
ĎEngineering our futureí is National Gridís signature program which sets a plan on how we will invest in a long term strategy to positively affect the attitudes of young people, their parents and teachers toward a career choice of engineering.
These pages currently contain background information and supporting materials relating to our initial report.
We know there are fewer engineers, and we know that increasing the engineering workforce is an imperative for not only National Grid but also the United States economy. So why is this critical sector in decline?
The white paper details the problem and National Gridís approach to solving the problem.
Please see a short video on Engineering our future - Engineering Pipeline Program
A large part of the answer is a perception problem. Research from several sources shows that negative perceptions about engineering are held by young people and segments of the public at large. These negative perceptions are compounded by the fact that the public has a generally narrow understanding of what engineers actually do.
A major 2008 study conducted on behalf of the National Academy of Engineering used qualitative and quantitative research to uncover and analyze some of the most common misperceptions and negative feelings about engineering. The findings were published in Changing the Conversation: Messages for Improving Public Understanding of Engineering.
National Gridís Approach
At National Grid, we are committed to focusing a significant portion of our community investment on building a qualified and successful engineering workforce. Through our corporate giving programs, employee volunteerism and internal leadership and development activities, we have created a comprehensive program dedicated to advancing this cause. The program is called Engineering our Future, and it has three goals: to INSPIRE, ATTRACT and DEVELOP future engineers. National Grid has already invested more than $3 million in this program to target students of all ages and backgrounds to encourage them to study science, technology, engineering and math.
PHASE 1: INSPIRE
The process of building a strong engineering corps starts with inspiring our youth to be interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). National Gridís Engineering our Future initiative aims to accomplish this by:
Applying a multi-level approach to reach students at all levels of the educational system
Reaching out to students both in conventional and unconventional ways
Funding research centers to support new and exciting technologies
Partnering with organizations that provide programs to educate teachers as well as students
Energy Explorer Program - Offering educational materials and interactive website which provides information free of charge to students, teachers and parents. This information will also be used by our employees to go into schools with information about Energy, Environment and Safety. http://www.ngridenergyworld.com/
PHASE 2: ATTRACT
We want to engineering graduates to see National Grid as a great place to work.
Thatís why the centerpiece of Engineering Our Future is a new program called the Engineering Pipeline Program. The Pipeline is a six-year development program that creates a recruitment pathway, beginning after junior year in high school, for promising students who want to become engineers. Each year, sixty high school juniors who have strong grades and interest in studying engineering in college will be accepted into the Pipeline. If they study engineering in college, keep their grades up, and participate in ongoing activities Ė including a paid internship at National Grid, as well as educational, job shadowing and mentoring activities Ė they will be fast-tracked for fulltime employment at National Grid upon graduation.
Summer programs will focus on giving students:
Knowledge of the energy industry and an insight into engineering careers at all levels.
The confidence to make informed career choices.
Positive and inspirational experience in a vital industry and with company that they may know little about.
Visit our Careers section of our website for additional information regarding employment opportunities at National Grid.
PHASE 3: DEVELOP
Once engineers are working at National Grid, we want to grow and develop their talents with comprehensive learning programs.
National Gridís formal internal engineering development includes:
Engineering Graduate Development Program designed to accelerate the time to competency for new hires
Customized technical training programs
On the job training and mentoring
Annual Expert Training
Customized Personal Development Plans
Engineering training courses for new technologies
Engineering rotation programs designed to enhance competencies
Online engineering degree programs
National Grid works to facilitate two-semester Overhead Electric Line Worker certificate programs with the following Community Colleges:
Hudson Valley Community College, NY
Erie Community College, NY
Onondaga Community College, NY
Quinsigamond Community College, MA
North Shore Community College, MA
Middlesex Community College, MA
We are incredibly excited about Engineering our Future, but we recognize that it is only a small part of what must be done to rebuild the national engineering workforce. We need other corporations, government, education systems and non-profits to band together and contribute to the effort. It may seem like a daunting challenge, but we must keep in mind the historic importance of the end goal. For as long as people have used tools, we have depended on engineers to figure out new ways to explore, improve and build our world.
Engineers discovered irrigation systems, and we had modern agriculture. Engineers saw a route between the Atlantic and Pacific, and we built the Panama Canal. Engineers assembled a rocket ship, and we landed on the moon.
What the next generation of engineers will give us is unknowable. We cannot afford to let engineering become anything less than a critical, treasured part of our workforce. Investing in engineering is investing in our future.
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