Emergent Space Technologies, Inc. (Emergent) is proud to announce the formation of a new Employee Resource Group (ERG) to create and foster a supportive and inclusive workplace for under-represented groups within the aerospace industry. The Emergent Committee Leading Inclusion of People in Space and Defense (ECLIPSD) was formed by women employees at Emergent to create a fun and safe forum for exchanging ideas, networking, and supporting one another.
In the aerospace industry, only 24 percent of employees are women, and there has been little change in years, according to an Aviation Week study cited by The Washington Post. Emergent recognizes the need to work proactively on reversing this trend through ECLIPSD, which is focused on advancing change to attract and retain a diverse workforce. Led by Director of Technical Services, Jaime Kline, ECLIPSD provides a community and amplifies the voices of people who are traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields. In addition, ECLIPSD is open to all employees and provides a space to give and receive career advice and support from fellow Emergent employees who have had similar experiences.
Additionally, Emergent expanded its annual summer internship program in 2020 to hire more women as a tangible first step towards the objectives of ECLIPSD. Emergent hired six young women from top STEM programs to work on real projects with senior engineers as mentors. This energized and enthusiastic group led multiple challenging tasks from improving a satellite navigation filter to developing web services. “2020 was our best year ever for summer interns, and the women were all really high performers”, said Dr. George Davis, Emergent CEO. “They were undaunted by restrictions imposed by COVID-19 and remote work and produced outstanding results for the projects they supported. I really hope we have the opportunity to hire them all in near future!”
ECLIPSD was formed in June 2020, and members have been using Microsoft Teams to meet and build the purpose of the group. With so many employees working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus has been to provide social connections and support. During this time, weekly meditations are being offered to reduce stress and anxiety. An online virtual painting workshop is planned for November to provide a fun and social environment for creating the connections and camaraderie needed to support this new group. “Not only is it important to foster diversity when hiring, it is especially important that companies create an environment where all employees feel supported and feel that they are able to voice their different opinions and perspectives. Without support, you won’t necessarily have retention, and that is just as essential for diversity to grow,” said Jennifer King, Senior Aerospace Engineer in the Advanced Programs Division.
“ECLIPSD is designed to be a forum for women and other under-represented populations within Emergent to connect, communicate and encourage each other's growth in all facets of the Space and Defense industries. In this group, we discuss the unique challenges facing all under-represented people in these industries, and we also have fun together! It is my intention that ECLIPSD provides a safe space for our team to communicate and help each other and helps to elevate important issues related to diversity to company leadership,” states Jaime Kline, Director of Technical Services.