Global issues are real: What is Keysight doing to help train tomorrow’s problem solvers?
2018-06-06 | 7 min read
It’s estimated that more of the global population own a mobile phone than a toothbrush. This simple statistic highlights the gulf between how advanced our technology has become, and the scale of the global problems that we still need to solve.
The challenges we face over the next 20 years are truly complex. For example:
- Global energy consumption will increase by 28% by 2040. How do we create and manage the energy to support this demand?
- Nearly a billion people worldwide don’t have enough to eat. How do we improve agricultural and food production to end hunger?
- Nearly a billion people don’t have access to clean water. How do we improve sanitation and reduce disease?
- How do we address the issues of global climate change?
Meeting these challenges requires new generations of problem solvers across a diverse range of sectors, who can invent solutions and apply them for everyone’s benefit. But where will those problem solvers come from?
According to the Smithsonian Science Education Center, 2.4 million science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) jobs will go unfilled this year. 78% of high school graduates don't meet benchmark readiness for one or more college courses in mathematics, science, reading, or English. There is also a significant lack of women in STEM fields, and even greater underrepresentation of people from diverse ethnic groups.
In order to solve the problems facing our society and planet, the first challenge we need to overcome is closing the STEM skills gap. That means increasing students’ interest in STEM subjects, and building their skills in these areas.
Advancing education worldwide
This is why Keysight operates education programs worldwide, to demonstrate our values and commitment to corporate citizenship and helping to solve the most pressing global issues. By engaging directly with the communities where we operate, and encouraging employees to get involved in local, national and international projects, we are making strong progress towards our key impact goals in education and community action.
Our activities in these areas involve:
- School education programs, including direct school support programs, education events and science fair volunteerism
- University relations, including research grants and class engagement programs such as guest lecturing
- Software and equipment donations and discounts to higher education establishments
- Employee volunteering: Keysight policy allows four hours of paid time monthly for volunteering on educational or charitable work
- Ongoing employee education and communication to conserve natural resources and reduce waste: Keysight has the goal of recognizing $2 million in cost avoidance, 10% energy conservation and 15% water conservation by the end of fiscal year 2020 (using our fiscal year 2015 as a baseline)
The Keysight After School education program is a great example of how we are encouraging young students’ interest and abilities in STEM subjects. It’s a hands-on science course for children aged 9 to 13, featuring over 20 different life, physical and earth-science experiments, designed as complete ‘programs-in-a-box.’ Students can build electronic-circuit games, balloon-powered cars and explore clean-water engineering, learning first-hand about how STEM drives innovation and creativity. These programs are delivered completely free of charge to the host organizations, which range from schools and community centers to museums, and even hospitals. Such engagements will truly impact the way the students think and spark creative problem-solving ideas in these young scientists and engineers – as a school district’s STEM coordinator remarked, “I know that this was an experience that they will remember for quite some time.”
And at the other end of the education journey, we are actively supporting next-generation research at some of the world’s leading universities, as the opening of a new research lab in collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast showed. This state-of-the-art facility will enable pioneering research that will drive the future of communications.
Keysight’s CSR goals
Education and community support are two of Keysight’s four key impact goal areas, and our latest 2017 CSR Report highlights the strong progress we are making towards the targets we set for ourselves. By end fiscal year 2020, we plan to engage upwards of 570,000 students and future engineers through a mixture of education strategies: the Report shows that to date, we have engaged 275,000, so we are almost halfway to our goal. We also planned to commit over $1 billion in value to community strengthening efforts, and so far we have delivered $685 million in value.
Solving problems and raising next-gen problem solvers
Keysight creates and develops technology to help solve problems and drive innovation. We also recognize the need to develop the skills that enable people to utilize our technology to address global challenges. Our CSR community programs are helping to nurture that next generation of problem solvers who’d give back to the society and ultimately make the world a better place to live in.