KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knoxville-based company is celebrating its anniversary with a $500,000 commitment to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and $120,000 in college scholarship funds.
LDA Engineering said they have worked to invest in STEM and engineering education in all their markets. In 2015, the company pledged to reach $250,000 in 10 years. This year, they reached enough donations, pro bono work and volunteer hours and decided to celebrate 40 successful years by doubling the commitment. The new goal is to reach $500,000 in contributions by 2030.
“STEM professions like engineering are a cornerstone of the economy, and young people are the future of our profession,” said Jason Brooks, CEO of LDA Engineering. “Through support of nonprofits and educational groups in our markets in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Tri-Cities, Nashville and Memphis, we’re blessed to share our passion for engineering with students at a young age to open their minds to the possibilities.
“I became even more driven to encourage the next generation of engineers when my daughter, Mary-James, and son, Hall, came along. Women still only account for 27% of the engineering workforce, and I believe that early exposure and encouragement in STEM subjects will make a difference in people choosing engineering as their calling.”
The company also plans to give three scholarships to promote engineering education, totaling $120,000. The University of Tennessee Knoxville, Tennessee Tech University and Maryville College each received $40,000. The company adds that the Tennessee Tech scholarship was dedicated to longtime employee and company partner Steve Bostic.
“We want to say thank you to our clients for their belief in us, driving our recent growth and allowing us to give back to the next generation of STEM industry professionals,” Brooks said. “Every one of our 40 years is a testament to the support of the communities that LDA Engineering serves.”
According to a 2021 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of engineering professionals needs to grow by at least 15% to replace baby boomers aging out of the market. In an effort to address this gap, LDA Engineering is partnering with STEM Scouts of the Great Smoky Mountain Council, Boy Scouts of America; Future City Competition, Tennessee region; United Way of Blount County; Adventure Science Center and more.
They estimate more than 3,500 students have been impacted by their efforts so far.