As part of the culmination of Workforce Development Month activities, Governor Henry McMaster and S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) Executive Director William Floyd presented The Boeing Company with the 2023 Workforce Champion Award at The Governor’s Mansion.
This award honors an employer or individual who has displayed extraordinary effort or innovation in developing and connecting students with employment opportunities in South Carolina. Boeing was selected as the honoree because of their exceptional outreach efforts in the state, including their DreamLearners program, which has reached more than 1.2 million educators, students, and community members since 2012. As part of this program, Boeing has hosted hundreds of field trips and student visits to its North Charleston factory, as well as virtual events, with the goal of inspiring young people to develop skills in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
“We are experiencing an economic boom in South Carolina, and we have the people, institutions, and talent lined up and ready to create great prosperity in our state,” said Governor McMaster. “Boeing is educating and training South Carolinians to be ready for opportunities within their company. They are not only producing the planes, but producing happy, satisfied workers who can support strong families.”
Boeing was nominated by DEW’s Regional Workforce Advisors (RWAs). Working with educators, parents, students, and employers, these RWAs introduce middle and high school students to multiple careers by facilitating conversations, organizing career events, and communicating the incredible employment opportunities in our state.
In collaboration with the RWAs, Boeing has engaged schools in every South Carolina county through its Boeing Days program. During the visits, Boeing representatives educate students and community members about the company, aerospace, advanced manufacturing jobs, and careers in STEM.
“It is my privilege, as the Executive Director of DEW, to present the inaugural Workforce Champion Award to The Boeing Company,” said Floyd. “It was Boeing’s long-standing commitment, innovation, and investment in the school-to-work pipeline that made them this year’s winner. Boeing is actively involved in educating our young people about the importance of the aerospace industry and careers in STEM in a way that makes it easily understood and achievable.”
The award was presented to Lindsay Leonard, Boeing’s Senior Director of Government Operations in South Carolina, and Frank Hatten, Education Relations Specialist.
“Boeing is committed to helping students of all backgrounds reach their potential, and we are honored to accept this award that recognizes the importance of investing in South Carolina’s future workforce,” said Leonard. “We are passionate about creating a cradle-to-career pathway for young people, giving them the opportunity to learn the skills needed to thrive in a career and beyond. Thank you to Governor McMaster, DEW, and the Regional Workforce Advisors who share this passion and have helped make Boeing Days and DreamLearners successful.”
In 2022, Boeing contributed nearly $50 million in support of STEM education and workforce development programs nationwide. Since 2010, about half of the more than $80 million Boeing has invested in South Carolina non-profits has gone toward educational programs for school-aged children across the state.
“The Boeing Company is the ideal recipient of our agency’s first-ever Workforce Champion Award because they are an employer that is deeply invested in our students,” concludes Floyd. “We encourage all employers in South Carolina, regardless of size or industry, to follow their lead and help build the school- to-work pipeline in their local areas. Whether it be a business adopting a local school, offering internships or apprenticeships, or simply participating in job fairs and career events at schools – young people are the future of our workforce and the best, long-term investment an employer can make.”
There have been hundreds of events, job fairs, meetings, interviews, and activities during September’s Workforce Development Month. The Workforce Champion Award presentation is one of many that bring the month to a close, but DEW and companies like Boeing work throughout the year to help connect jobseekers and employers. To learn more about DEW’s activities, visit dew.sc.gov. To learn more about Boeing’s DreamLearners program and Boeing Days, or to schedule a visit with a school, visit weareboeingsc.com/dreamlearners-program.