Giving Students a Taste of Career Options

In Little Bit, Boeing has found a partnership reflecting its commitment to support community-based initiatives that align with its values, according to Monique Bynum, Community Investor/Education Relations with Boeing Global Engagement. “Supporting Little Bit is important to us because their programming aligns with our key focus areas of STEM education and equitable opportunities, and helps cultivate a future workforce that is diverse,” she says.

Driven by the “visible success and positive outcomes of Little Bit,” she says, Boeing expanded the partnership in 2023 with a grant that enabled Little Bit to bring STEM LINGO to additional schools this school year and host a series of Lunch and Learns for high school students, focused on those in North County and East St. Louis. More than 200 students participated in the Lunch and Learn sessions.

The sessions gave students the opportunity to hear from industry professionals with diverse backgrounds about their expertise, daily work, and the path they took to their career. Bynum says Boeing participants represented aviation, engineering, advanced manufacturing, and professional development, and “those with a strong passion for community engagement and education.”

“This opportunity meant a lot to the students and school,” says Alexandria Smith, College and Career Specialist for McCluer High School. “It opened up interests for students to pursue, and they were able to see someone from a similar background having success in their field.”

During the year, the Lunch and Learns included not only professionals from Boeing, but also engineers in a variety of industries. They discussed how they overcame learning disabilities, barriers related to race and gender, and other obstacles along their career path. Students met the engineers responsible for the design of bridges they cross and trucks they see on the road, and learned that many of them grew up in the same communities they are in.

“I feel like the panelists were relatable to the students, and a few students expressed interest in learning more about engineering,” says Smith.

For Boeing employees, Bynum says “it was incredibly rewarding for them, allowing them to share their passion for their fields, while making a tangible impact on the career aspirations of students.”