This fall, a new White House initiative will increase space diversity.
Earlier this month, the White House announced a pilot program to expand training in the space sector with many space companies led by Blue Origin, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. (Including other participants SpaceXAmazon and Rocket laboratoryto name a few.)
“These pilot programs will help thousands of traditionally underrepresented space workers learn the skills and access the opportunities they need to work in space in the 21st century,” White House officials said in a statement. the actual letter (opens in a new tab) released on September 9. The training will take place in three locations: the Florida Space Coast, the Louisiana/Mississippi Gulf Coast, and Southern California. Few other details are available at this time.
The new push is to bring more diversity to the aerospace workforce through a wider range of institutions beyond the Ivy League and other wealthy engineering and science schools. Examples include historically black colleges and universities, tribal colleges and universities, minority-serving institutions, community colleges and vocational schools, White House officials said.
U Remarks at a meeting of the National Space Council (opens in a new tab)held Sept. 9 at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Harris emphasized that working in space doesn’t necessarily require four-year degrees (which are often a barrier for diverse communities because of the money and time investment).
“There are thousands more jobs for technicians — well-paying jobs that often don’t require a four-year degree but are critical to our space program. These vacancies are just waiting to be filled,” said Harris, who heads the council.
Examples of positions requiring only a high school diploma, according to the White House road map (opens in a new tab), include welders, non-destructive testers, machinists, inspectors, mechanics and assemblers of industrial machinery. A joint college degree opens positions such as avionics technician and quality control analyst. Salaries for these jobs start at around $35,000 a year, but can go much higher.
On the subject: NASA and ESA experts examine diversity and integration in space
According to 2021 data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the US space industry reached a 10-year high of 151,797. dismantled by the Space Foundation (opens in a new tab). This is almost 20% more than in 2016. (However, the numbers track key job sectors related to space, not the space industry as a single segment.)
Many of the companies participating in the new White House initiative are also signatories Space Workforce 2030 Promise (opens in a new tab), which promises to increase the workforce among women and underrepresented populations in the next decade. The pledge was announced in April at the 37th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs.
Current space diversity statistics are not available and the collection methodology is ambiguous. However, some efforts on the part of the directorate in NASA (opens in a new tab) and the United Kingdom Space Skills Alliance (opens in a new tab) women are estimated to make up about 30% of the space workforce, while people of color make up less than 32%, depending on the set of statistics used.
https://www.space.com/vice-president-kamala-harris-diversity-space-workforce/ Vice President Kamala Harris calls for diversification of the US space workforce