The Boeing Company is excited to announce that the company’s DreamLearners program has reached more than 1 million participants since the program began in 2012. Elected officials, representatives from Boeing and the Charleston County School District (CCSD) celebrated the milestone at North Charleston Elementary School Wednesday, where they were joined by dozens of students who participated in a DreamLearners session. As part of the program, those in attendance also had the opportunity to participate in the program’s popular paper airplane activity.
DreamLearners, which began ten years ago at Boeing South Carolina, is an instructional program based on elements of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Students participate in hands-on group activities, discover different careers at Boeing and learn about the benefits of a STEM-focused education. The program is open to students of all ages and also meets the Force and Motion standards for 5th-grade students in South Carolina.
“STEM education unlocks tomorrow’s innovations, encouraging breakthroughs and advancements we can’t even imagine today,” said Ziad Ojakli, Executive Vice President of Government Operations at Boeing, who also attended Wednesday’s event. “Boeing celebrates the inspiration and sense of accomplishment STEM programs can bring to young minds, and we are proud to champion a unique program like DreamLearners.”
As part of the DreamLearners program, Boeing teammate volunteers visit schools and community groups to bring these unique STEM resources to students across the state. Since its inception, more than 7,600 teammates have volunteered with the program’s education-related engagements. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program also added a virtual learning component.
DreamLearners was developed and continues to be led by Frank Hatten, BSC’s Education Relations Specialist. Hatten has long had a passion for educating and inspiring youth through his volunteer efforts.
“Boeing allowing me the opportunity to lead DreamLearners makes me know I have one of the best careers in the company,” Hatten said.
With its close proximity to Boeing South Carolina’s Airport Campus, North Charleston Elementary School has been a key partner in hosting DreamLearners engagements for several years. The school is part of the Liberty Hill STEM Collaborative, an initiative supported by Boeing, CCSD, Coastal Community Foundation and the Charity Foundation, which aims to prepare students for jobs in the local aerospace industry.
“Boeing has been a tremendous asset to our North Charleston community for more than a decade,” said North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey. “The company not only has provided thousands of jobs to our citizens but is working to ensure the talent pipeline continues to grow for future generations.”
“Congratulations to Boeing on reaching this wonderful milestone of one million DreamLearners participants. This successful program has made an impact across Charleston County – reaching students of all ages and community groups of all backgrounds,” said Charleston County Council Chair Teddie Pryor. “We are thankful for Boeing’s commitment to our county’s future workforce.”
Boeing has also partnered with the South Carolina Department of Commerce and its Regional Workforce Advisors, who help coordinate Boeing’s grassroots outreach efforts across the state. As part of the Boeing Days initiative, the DreamLearners program visits schools in every county throughout the year.
“Congratulations to Boeing South Carolina for this incredible milestone of reaching one million participants in the DreamLearners program. For ten years, this impactful program has enlightened students, parents, educators and community partners about careers in STEM, advanced manufacturing and aerospace,” said South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III. “We are grateful for this partnership with BSC that allows us to inspire future innovators, encouraging them to remain within our borders. This program and the doors it opens perfectly align with SC Commerce’s mission to create economic opportunities to increase choices for all South Carolinians.”
Boeing is honored to have received positive responses about DreamLearners from our teammates and community members:
“Volunteering with DreamLearners means having the opportunity to sow seeds of aspiration in the minds of the future you. I believe through community service I can connect with at least one child, teen, or adult, sharing the importance of STEM education and desired skills needed in careers.”
-Tiffania Ham Fayall, BSC Quality teammate, DreamLearners volunteer
“Boeing South Carolina’s wonderful DreamLearners initiative not only empowers our students with a timely career awareness and exploration opportunity, but it also affirms the critical importance of their personal education by connecting the discovery of flight to essential math and science principles they get to practice in the program’s experiential learning activity.”
-Chadwick Vail, Work-based Learning Partnership Coordinator, Charleston County School District
“Through this program, we have been able to engage students of all ages in fun STEM activities. Boeing’s generosity to the Four Rivers Outreach and the Girl Scouts have included monetary donations, STEM gifts, but most importantly the time of the Boeing Volunteers, which is priceless.”
-Diana Scott, Four Rivers Outreach Community Development Corporation
“Taking DreamLearners into tribal communities has led to inspiring a whole new generation of indigenous students to seek not only STEM fields but to work for Boeing someday. Some of these students had never heard of Boeing, never had career speakers come to their classrooms, never had a company make efforts to personally interact with them. I’m grateful to be able to provide guidance and advice in their learning and their lives and show them that this company cares about them and now their future can start here at Boeing!”
-Nalena Kennett, BSC Project Manager, DreamLearners volunteer
“On behalf of the students, staff and parents of The Liberty Hill Afterschool Enrichment Program, it is a privilege to let it be known that it is indeed an honor to have such a great partnership with Boeing South Carolina. Our partnership is in its ninth year of existence and the Boeing South Carolina organization has truly been instrumental in supporting the success of our program through volunteering to help educate the students and to help ensure that the students are on track to becoming productive citizens of society. Because of Boeing’s generosity and commitment to making a difference in the community, the students in the program’s lives will be happier and their future brighter.”
-Robert Fludd, Liberty Hill Afterschool Enrichment Program
“It has been a really rewarding experience to be able to give back to Hannahan, the town I grew up in, and visit my old high school for a DreamLearners event through Boeing. I think building our pipeline in the Charleston area is very important when we look at overall strategy for recruiting local talent, and the DreamLearners program is a huge contributor to the success of that.”
-Vijay Soni, BSC Manufacturing Engineer, DreamLearners volunteer
“My love of aviation started with building paper airplanes, with the dreams of flying and has continued to this day. When the DreamLearners program began, I was drawn to it because of the important role that STEM-based programs played in my childhood. Seeing how the program and its community impact has grown inspires me to connect with others and do more.”
-Eric Harris, BSC Materials and Transportation Manager, DreamLearners volunteer
“My career as an engineer is centered on resolving issues and improving process. But, my calling is improving the lives of others, especially children. What I find most rewarding about the DreamLearners program is that it affords me the opportunity to fulfill my calling in the same place as my career. It is my hope that each of our DreamLearners participants leave with more inspiration than which they came.”
-Ben Jones, BSC Quality Engineer, DreamLearners volunteer
As a leading global aerospace company, Boeing develops, manufactures and services commercial airplanes, defense products and space systems for customers in more than 150 countries. As a top U.S. exporter, the company leverages the talents of a global supplier base to advance economic opportunity, sustainability and community impact. Boeing’s diverse team is committed to innovating for the future and living the company’s core values of safety, quality and integrity. Learn more at www.boeing.com or www.weareboeingsc.com.