Original Date: 07/25/2005
Revision Date: 09/12/2006
Best Practice : WORTHY Program
Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems’ WORTHY Program helps high school students who are interested in math, engineering, computer science, or physics gain a better understanding of engineering and business from the inside of a major company. The WORTHY Program offers young people the opportunity to realize their full potential for higher education.
Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems’ WORTHY (Worthwhile To Help High School Youth) Program is a mentoring program suggested by an employee in 1998. The employee wrote a white paper that was presented to NGES President Bob Iorizzo, who realized the vision and sanctioned the funds for the program. WORTHY was created to help develop future technical and business leaders by encouraging and advancing students’ pursuit of technical degrees through hands-on experiences and improved access to post-secondary education. WORTHY strives to cultivate a technically capable workforce that will prove to be valuable to NGES and other regional employers.
Students from Baltimore City public and parochial high schools must have a minimum 3.0 GPA to participate in the WORTHY Program. Students should be college-bound; be interested in math, engineering, computer science, or physics; demonstrate leadership abilities, and be involved in extracurricular activities. After selection to the WORTHY Program, students are expected to maintain a cumulative 3.0+ GPA, attend all WORTHY sessions, complete assignments, attend an accredited college or university, and study in identified fields.
The WORTHY Program’s mentees visit NGES once a month and are paired with two mentors. Monthly visits include experiencing the corporate environment, exposure to technical careers, a year-long project with mentors, and training classes that include SAT preparation, communications skills, and preparation for an end-of-year presentation to the NGES Executive Committee. Students must participate in annual college campus visits and are offered part-time summer employment. Students who complete the WORTHY Program are awarded a college scholarship of $5,000 annually for four years.
The WORTHY Program’s summer employment objective at the University of Maryland Baltimore County campus is to develop each participant’s leadership, technical, and interpersonal skills through engineering and community service-based projects with a deliverable presentation to the WORTHY Core Team. Participants meet three times a week for six weeks. Yearly university visits and overnight trips to major campuses that expand the students’ options for schools and majors are other requirements. Students can bring one parent or guardian or a sibling for the visits. Visits focus on strong engineering and business programs and exploring different majors and disciplines. University visits also give students the opportunity to observe a school’s facilities, labs, and financial opportunities and expose them to campus life where they meet and talk to currently enrolled students, examine the student support systems, and observe dormitory life and recreation and extracurricular activities.
The WORTHY Program has had 80 participants to date, with only 7 failing to finish the high school portion of the program; 48 graduated from high school, with 100% entering college. Three of those who are college graduates have become NGES employees. More than 200 NGES employees have been involved as mentors, instructors, technical experts and resources, and program designers and facilitators. Nineteen Baltimore City high schools have participated in the WORTHY Program to date. Each year since its inception, 10 students have entered the WORTHY Program. The program currently has 24 students participating and has been extended to include 15 new students for the upcoming school year. The success of NGES’ WORTHY Program will be realized by the entire Baltimore community for many years.
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