In the highly competitive, tight margin world of federal contracting, it’s hard to carve out the funding needed for the truly robust R&D programs we need to stay a few steps ahead of our customers’ requirements—much less the community-focused, “good deed” programs we all support (in theory) (as long as someone else pays for them).
At LGS, we’re finding that investing in our nation’s STEM education programs is something we can’t afford not to do. And it’s not just because it makes us feel good: we know it helps our nation at large, because a rising tide of educated U.S. engineers will lift all of our boats. We’re also learning that our STEM investments help us to recruit the young scientists and engineers we need to fulfill our customers’ missions.
Which is to say: supporting STEM can help your bottom line.
With ever-increasing competition for federal funding and with a welcome return to procurements focused on high-quality, tailored solutions to C4ISR and cyber-centric missions (and less on “lowest priced, technically acceptable” offerings), we find a growing audience for the technical innovations we’re known for—among our customers, absolutely, but also among the young scientists, engineers, and other recent STEM graduates we’re recruiting to fulfill those customers’ missions. They’re looking for a work environment where their innovations are welcome, and we’re happy to provide it.
And we’re also finding that the earlier we can introduce ourselves to them as they go through their K-12 and college years, the more likely they are to join our ranks, first as interns and then as full-time teammates. For this reason, any LGS employee who volunteers their time to support a STEM program in their community (e.g., robotics clubs, science clubs, chess clubs, etc.) is eligible for financial support from us to cover the incidental expenses incurred by their young would-be engineers.
Then, as these future engineers enter college, they can apply for an LGS STEM Scholarship and make pretty good money as summer interns with us. Naturally, once the sheepskin is in their hands, LGS will be a top candidate for a place to put their knowledge to work (and pay off their student loans J).
Yes, improving our nation’s human STEM capital creates a fertile ground for greater collaboration between the government, private sector, and academia, and we should all do our share. And yes, that feels good—and it should. But your STEM investments can also provide a direct return to benefit your company’s future as well.