Autonomous mining technology and other digital solutions that Resource Industries, as well as other divisions of Caterpillar, are deploying depend on intellectual capital. To keep our talent pipeline full of passionate and highly skilled talent, we’re investing in ways to engage young people today in programs that bring science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to life.
Caterpillar, for example, is a longtime sponsor of For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology (FIRST), a mentor-based organization that builds STEM skills and inspires youth to become science and technology leaders through robotics competitions and other challenges. We sponsor the FIRST STEM Equity Community Innovation Grants to address inequalities in STEM education, and in 2018, became a FIRST Strategic Partner, the organization’s top sponsorship level. Each year, we donate more than 100,000 volunteer hours and reach over 2,500 students. This pipeline strategy is working. Today, Caterpillar’s engineering workforce includes many FIRST alumni serving as mentors and volunteers.
Other signature programs include Introduce a Girl to STEM Day, an annual event held at Caterpillar locations worldwide. The event’s goal is to teach fifth- to eighth-grade girls about STEM fields, as well as introducing them to role models in STEM careers. In 2018, Jackie Heinricher, the leader of the all-female racecar team sponsored by Caterpillar, made an appearance and spoke to girls about her background in entrepreneurship and science.
We also sponsor programs that are aligned with Caterpillar’s business focus areas, such as the NASA Robotic Mining Competition and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) International 1/4 Scale Tractor Student Design Competition. In strategic partnerships with university organizations such as the Pittsburgh Automation Center at Carnegie Mellon University, the Black Hills Engineering Design Center at South Dakota School of Mines, the Champaign Simulation Center and an innovation lab at the University of Illinois, STEM students have opportunities to gain experience working side-by-side with Caterpillar employees. Through these initiatives, Caterpillar is training the next generation of innovators – some of whom will go on to fulfill our purpose of helping customers build a better world.