Where are the college graduates that space companies need to hire? Recent reports indicate they are in short supply or are unaware of aerospace industry opportunities. You can help increase the supply of future employees by becoming a Space Ambassador.
By Loretta Hall
Space companies are scrambling to fill their employment needs, according to recent studies. At the Satellite 2018 conference in March, Jeff Matthews reported that hiring is lagging job attrition in the industry. A study by his employer, Deloitte Consulting, also found that the median age at space companies is ten to fifteen years older than at the broader category of engineering firms.
These statistics point to aerospace industry employers’ difficulty in hiring young engineers. In a March 12, 2018, article on SpaceNews.com, Kay Sears was quoted as saying, “We are competing for these engineers as they come out of school, and we have to make space exciting.” Sears, Lockheed Martin Space Systems’ vice president of strategy and business development, continued, “It is exciting — we all know it’s exciting — but we are not telling that story enough to attract the talent.”
This is the challenge the NSS Space Ambassador program is striving to overcome. After completing an application process, Space Ambassadors embark on a mission of public speaking with a goal of educating and generating excitement about space exploration among the general public. Presentations may be made to any type of audience because of the widespread lack of understanding about the importance and vibrancy of space endeavors. Speaking to students is particularly encouraged, since that is where the industry’s future workforce will come from.
Robert Bell, executive director of Space & Satellite Professions International, said in an April 23, 2018, article in SpaceNews magazine that he often finds STEM students oblivious to the existence of job opportunities other than at NASA. Space Ambassadors can make those opportunities known.
It is particularly important to speak to elementary school students and their parents. Ed Swallow, senior vice president of The Aerospace Corporation’s Civil Systems Group said in that April article that students’ “critical decisions get made basically in fifth grade.” After that, choices about which math courses students take will drastically affect their futures. Swallow said, “[I]f you are not taking algebra in eighth grade, you cannot graduate in four years with a STEM degree from college.”
Consider becoming a Space Ambassador and making your contribution to this important effort. The requirements are easy to meet. You simply have to demonstrate the ability to give a satisfactory presentation of your own creation or one supplied by the program, and give at least two presentations a year. Complete information about the program is available at space.nss.org/space-ambassadors. Check it out today.
Loretta Hall is the author of Space Pioneers: In Their Own Words, Out of this World: New Mexico’s Contributions to Space Travel, The Complete Space Buff’s Bucket List, and Miguel & Michelle Visit Spaceport America.