Downers Grove, Ill. — At the Talent Management Alliance’s 2013 STEM Summit, Grundfos’ director of Human Resources, Bob Parks, will speak on two panels about sourcing a workforce with technology skills and using creative university partnerships to fill talent pipelines.
The summit, which addresses the deficit in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills in the U.S., takes place Aug. 5 and 6 in San Francisco. Access to a talent pool with such knowledge is crucial to Grundfos, a global water pump manufacturer whose North American research and development team is based in the Kansas City area.
“As a leader in advanced pump solutions and a trendsetter in water technology, we have a heavy demand for STEM talent,” Parks said. “Our success as a company is contingent upon the quality of our people, and so we are committed to developing potential recruits.”
In order to foster STEM skills, Grundfos engages in a number of partnerships with universities across the U.S. The company most recently began collaborating with the University of Central Missouri and Metropolitan Community College in a program that provides local high school students with accelerated training for high-demand jobs in engineering technology.
“We look at our university partnerships as an investment not just in the future of our company, but also in the future of our society,” said Dennis Wierzbicki, president of Grundfos USA. “STEM educational outreach is absolutely critical to producing the innovative talent our nation was once known for.”
Last year, Grundfos donated $20,000 to the University of Kansas’ School of Engineering to support senior design projects that concentrate on environmental and sustainability issues in commercial buildings. The company also sponsored the University of Kansas’ Ecohawks battery-powered car project, which gave students the opportunity to build a hybrid vehicle.
Grundfos is represented on advisory boards at the University of Kansas and Fresno State University, and is thus able to influence curriculum, ensuring that students graduate with the skills they need to compete for high-demand jobs. At the University of Texas and Virginia Tech, the company sponsored Engineers without Boarders, a non-profit humanitarian organization dedicated to partnering with developing communities around the world.
In addition to involvement on the local level, Grundfos also sponsors programs for university-level students worldwide. The Grundfos Challenge, for example, is a global case competition in which students from top educational institutions test their ability to handle real-life, high-pressure situations in either business or engineering.
The Grundfos Graduate Program is another career-development opportunity. The two-year internal, hands-on program is offered to graduates with the intellectual strength, global mindset and innovative ability to lead high-priority, international projects for the company. Through the program, the participants receive professional coaching and access to a large, multicultural network.
Grundfos’ commitment to providing STEM opportunities to students does not stop with universities, however. The company also sponsors the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics teams to inspire high school students in Shawnee, Kan., and Fresno, Calif., to become science and technology leaders.