The National Defense Industrial Association is as its name implies a national organization with chapters in most states throughout the country. The purpose of NDIA is to advocate for the defense industry, promote an atmosphere that will create a vigorous government and industry national security team, and to provide a forum for the exchange of information between industry and the government on national security issues.
For the past two years the NDIA-Georgia chapter has achieved "model chapter" status from the national body for its active and aggressive program and the way it accomplishes the advocate, promote and provide cornerstones of the organization’s mission.
One of the key need areas for the defense industry is a highly motivated and educated workforce. This workforce requires workers, both blue collar and white collar, that have a background in and knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In order to help achieve that workforce NDIA-Georgia has a STEM committee and one of the board members leads the STEM efforts.
Many defense companies have an aging workforce with as many as 50% of it being within 5 years of retirement age. These workers possess tremendous capability, knowledge and skills, so replacing them with young, energetic and skilled workers is vitally important. With that in mind, NDIA-Georgia works to support organizations around the state that provide STEM outreach and education. At their recent board of directors meeting, NDIA-Georgia voted to provide two grants of $500.00 to STEM organizations. The grants will be given in separate ceremonies on location.
"With the move to create a spaceport in Camden County and the additional push to bring space companies to the state, we felt the grants should provide support to STEM activities that showcase space and educate through space oriented activities," said Chuck Hunsaker, the chapter president.
The first grant will be given to the Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base. The National STEM Academy at the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins aims to educate, engage and inspire students and teachers in the foundations and innovations of STEM through motivating workforce development programs. The Museum of Aviation programs reach over 50,000 students and teachers a year specializing in programs such as robotics, rocketry, coding, engineering, and inventions. The grant will provide support to their Young Astronauts’ Day program which is expected to serve over 400 students and over 100 community volunteers. The program will be held on May 9th. This special event highlights space and aviation education activities in the Century of Flight Hangar at the Museum of Aviation. Fifteen workshops will be offered to students in 1st through the 8th grades.
The second grant will be given to the Columbus State University Coca Cola Space Science Center. More than 18 years ago, the Coca-Cola Foundation partnered with the Columbus community to create the Coca-Cola Space Science Center (CCSSC), an investment that has since continued to grow beyond the greatest expectations of those who founded the center and developed its initial mission. What began as a venue where local children could experience science in new and interactive ways has taken on an even larger role and is now one of the leading science education facilities in the state, serving students of all ages from school districts throughout Georgia and east Alabama.
Over the past 4 years, the center has received nearly $30 million in artifacts from NASA’s Space Shuttle Program, thus providing an opportunity to inspire a new generation of explorers by bringing them face-to-face with pieces of history from our nation’s greatest achievement – human spaceflight. Because of this team’s demonstrated commitment to excellence, the CCSSC is experiencing an exciting opportunity that will benefit Columbus, the State of Georgia, and the entire Southeast.
An extraordinary artifact from NASA’s Space Shuttle Program has been given to CSU for permanent display. The Quarter-Scale Space Shuttle test article, a one-of-a-kind engineering prototype will soon be on display at Space Science Center. As a prototype, this piece served a vital function in the development of America’s space program. As an artifact, it is an irreplaceable part of our nation’s heritage. After the shuttles, this engineering prototype is the next most important artifact from the entire shuttle program.
This system features a 30-foot orbiter with a 19.5-foot wingspan, a 38-foot long external tank with a 7-foot diameter, and two 37-foot long solid rocket boosters (SRBs). When stacked vertically, the prototype stands over 48-feet tall. It served as a vital phase in the Shuttle design verification effort.
This fantastic artifact is now in Georgia, and CSU is just beginning a capital campaign to raise the money required to properly display and maximize the educational benefits of the shuttle.