Is your company, state, or region investing in the future of military and aerospace—the market, its staff, and its technology? If you live in Washington state, you can answer with a resounding “yes” thanks, in large part, to Washington State Representative Tim Probst’s House Bill 2088 and proactive players in the mil/aero and commercial markets.
House Bill 2088, sponsored by Rep. Probst, signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire, calls for: “Creating the opportunity scholarship board to assist middle-income students and invest in high employer demand programs.”
The opportunity scholarship board, made up of private sector representatives appointed by the governor and legislators, is responsible for establishing student eligibility criteria, the application process, and scholarship amounts. Low- and middle-income students, described as being from families with incomes of up to 125 percent of the state median income, who are studying for careers in such high-demand fields as manufacturing, science, mathematics, and technology are eligible to apply for scholarships.
Washington industry giants The Boeing Company and Microsoft Corp. each pledged $25 million to the Opportunity Scholarship Program. Washington state will match private contributions to these two scholarship accounts, beginning in 2014 with a cap of $50 million annually.
“Washington is the first state in the nation to create a scholarship program like this,” Probst said. “We hope that other companies will follow Microsoft and Boeing’s incredible example, so we can offer 10,000 scholarships or more before Christmas of this year.”
This geek is hopeful that the Opportunity Scholarship Program achieves its lofty goal to raise $1 billion during the coming decade, and that other states follow suit and help ensure an intelligent, capable U.S. engineering workforce able to compete (and win) in the ever-changing global economy.
(By the way, have you ever entered “education” in the search field on Mentor.com? You’ll find that the search results span more than 100 pages! Now that’s educational investment!)