Symposium: Top Federal Space Leaders Say Barriers Prevent Thriving Workforce

Originally aired on: April 20, 2023

Attracting and retaining high quality workers is a daunting problem in the space industry, where firms find themselves competing against all sectors for talent while burdened with barriers that accompany technical education and government projects.

Quincy Brown, the top workforce expert for the U.S. National Space Council and Lindsay Millard, who heads research and engineering for Pentagon space programs face the same problem: Attracting and retaining talent. At the 38th Space Symposium, the pair discussed solutions, from bolstering early learning in mathematics to streamlining the process to get workers security clearances needed to work with secretive space technologies. Brown said part of the problem is students eschew space careers when faced with difficult “weed-out” classes including calculus. “We just have to dismantle all of that,” Brown said.
Millard said to attract more workers, space firms need to make their leaders better-reflect the demographics of the nation. “If you want to cast a wide net, have the leadership in your organization reflect who you want to be,” she said.

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