Space industry CEOs pledge to create more inclusive workforce

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Companies said they will 'significantly increase the number of women and employees from underrepresented groups'

COLORADO SPRINGS – Top executives from the space industry on April 5 signed a pledge to advance diversity across the workforce. 

At the 37th Space Symposium, 24 executives committed to “diversity equity and inclusion,” a term used to describe policies and programs that promote the representation and participation of different races and ethnicities, genders, religions and cultures.

The “Space Workforce 2030” pledge commits these companies to annual reporting of data on diversity in their collective technical workforce, and to work with universities to increase the number of diverse and underrepresented students in technical fields needed in the space industry.  

The companies agreed to take action to achieve the following results by 2030:

  • Significantly increase the number of women and employees from underrepresented groups in our collective technical workforce
  • Significantly increase the number of women and employees from underrepresented groups who hold senior leadership positions in our collective technical workforce
  • Work with universities to increase the percentages of women and students from underrepresented groups receiving aerospace engineering degrees to levels commensurate with overall engineering programs
  • Sponsor K-12 programs that collectively reach over 5,000,000 underrepresented students annually
  • Meet twice a year at the working level to exchange best practices on strengthening diversity recruitment, STEM education outreach and representation at leadership levels 
  • Seek like-minded leaders and organizations to join this effort
Melanie Stricklan, CEO of Slingshot Aerospace, and Steve Isakowitz, CEO of Aerospace Corp. spoke at the 37th Space Symposium on the need for diversity in the space industry. Credit: Aerospace Corp.

It’s important for the industry to have a plan for diversity, equity and inclusion, Steve Isakowitz, president and CEO of the Aerospace Corp., told SpaceNews

“We’re fortunately going through a period of great growth,” he said. “The markets are hot and we do need to expand our workforce to include those who maybe haven’t had as much opportunity to participate.”

A more inclusive workforce also is important for innovation, said Isakowitz. “Innovation without a doubt works better when you get people with diverse backgrounds and diverse perspectives, and frankly our breakthroughs of tomorrow are going to be driven by having a more diverse workforce.”

Signatories of “Space Workforce 2030”

  • Roy Azevedo, president of Raytheon Intelligence & Space
  • Payam Banazadeh, CEO at Capella Space
  • Peter Beck, CEO at Rocket Lab
  • Tory Bruno, CEO at United Launch Alliance
  • Jim Chilton, Senior VP of Space & Launch at Boeing
  • Michael Colglazier, CEO at Virgin Galactic
  • Eileen Drake, CEO and president of AeroJet Rocketdyne 
  • Tim Ellis, CEO at Relativity Space
  • John Gedmark, CEO at Astranis Space Technologies 
  • Steve Isakowitz, CEO at The Aerospace Corporation
  • Larry James, Acting Director at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Daniel Jablonsky, CEO at Maxar Technologies 
  • Dave Kaufman, President at Ball Aerospace
  • Chris Kemp, CEO at Astra
  • Robert Lightfoot, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space
  • Will Marshall, CEO at Planet
  • Dan Piemont, President at ABL Space Systems
  • Peter Platzer, CEO at Spire Global
  • John Serafini, CEO at HawkEye 360
  • Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of SpaceX
  • Melanie Stricklan, CEO at Slingshot Aerospace
  • Dylan Taylor, CEO, Voyager Space
  • Amela Wilson, CEO at Nanoracks
  • Tom Wilson, president of space systems at Northrop Grumman