GE extends implementation of Next Engineers to increase diversity in engineering

October 26, 2021 | 11:49
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GE launched Next Engineers on October 14 across three countries in four inaugural cities: Cincinnati, Ohio and Greenville, South Carolina in the US, along with Stafford, UK and Johannesburg, South Africa.
GE Next Engineers
GE Next Engineers programme will support students to prepare for college studies in engineering

Next Engineers represents a commitment of up to $100 million over 10 years, dedicated to increasing the diversity of young people in engineering. Next Engineers is a global college-readiness programme that will provide students aged 13-18 (grades 8 to 12) with hands-on exposure to engineering concepts and careers and ultimately award scholarships to pursue engineering degrees. By 2030, the programme aims to reach more than 85,000 students in approximately 25 cities globally.

“Engineers are critical to building a world that works, but diverse populations are woefully underrepresented in the field,” said Linda Boff, president, GE Foundation and vice president, chief marketing officer of GE. “GE employs thousands of engineers around the globe and we are committed to providing the resources that will inspire the next generation of engineers and innovators wherever their careers take them."

During the next decade, the growing economy will require more skilled engineers to solve society’s most pressing challenges – from sustainable flight to quality healthcare and clean energy. Yet today in the US, 20 per cent of engineers are from underrepresented populations; in the UK, women earn 17 per cent of undergraduate degrees in engineering; and in South Africa, 11 per cent of registered engineers are women.

Next Engineers is a programme of GE Foundation, an independent charitable organisation funded by GE. Globally, the GE Foundation has partnered with FHI 360, an international nonprofit working to improve the health and well-being of people around the world, to develop the programme framework. Locally, the GE Foundation is partnering with the University of Cincinnati (US), Clemson University (US), MyKindaFuture (UK) and PROTEC (South Africa) to implement Next Engineers in each community. Across the four communities, Next Engineers represents an investment of up to $16 million, including grants to local partners, tuition for 3,200 youth participating in Engineering Camps, and scholarships for 600 Engineering Academy students.

Next Engineers offers three inspiring programmes to engage students on their paths to engineering studies. Starting today, students can begin applying for the third programme – Engineering Academy – at

  • Engineering Discovery for students aged 13 to 14 (eighth grade) and their guardians with the goal of increasing awareness through multiple one-hour exploratory experiences and hands-on activities connecting students to real engineers.
  • Engineering Camp for students aged 14 to 15 (rising ninth grade) with the goal of developing engineering identities through a week-long immersive camp experience over school break where students interact with experienced engineering faculty and staff, complete design challenges solving real-world problems, and interact directly with professional engineers and business leaders;
  • Engineering Academy for students aged 15 to 18 (grades nine to 12) with the goal of guiding and encouraging students to pursue engineering degrees. Engineering Academy is a three-year college readiness programme for upper secondary students that helps them learn to think and act like engineers and prepare them to select and succeed at an engineering major at the university level. The programme provides 80 hours per year of out-of-school programming. The programme will include longer challenges and a capstone project, career coaching to expose students to different engineering pathways, and college-readiness workshops. Students accepted to higher education engineering programmes will also receive a scholarship from the GE Foundation.

The GE Foundation has a nearly century-long track record supporting education and uplifting underrepresented communities, beginning with the Charles A. Coffin Foundation in 1922, which encouraged and rewarded service in the electrical field. Over the decades, the organisation has supported multiple education initiatives, from the GE Educational Fund in 1945 to the Urban-Disadvantages Grants Programme in the 1960s, and the College Bound Initiative in the 1980s to the Developing Futures in Education investment in the early 2000s, all with the goal of supporting equity and quality in K-12 public education in the US.

In Vietnam, GE Foundation provided over $200,000 in financial assistance and development opportunities to outstanding first-year students at top-notch Vietnamese universities. In addition to a total financial support of $3,600 ($1,200 per year) for the remainder of their studies up to a maximum of three years, grantees will be instructed by professional leaders of their fields who will help them identify personal and professional skills that are vital to academic advancement and provide opportunities for their development and learning.

In the most recent effort, GE Foundation donated $73,000 in aid to Habitat for Humanity Vietnam to support a post-disaster recovery programme in Quang Ngai province. Binh Thanh 2 and Binh Nguyen primary schools in Binh Son district, Quang Ngai province, one of the worst victims of the historic floods and landslides in 2020, received support to rebuild and renovate their facilities.

By Mai Dang

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