Grant Provides Project Management Skills for Tomorrow's Workforce

Written by: developer

The Space Foundation takes its mission to inspire the next generation of STEM professionals very seriously. Our team is committed to teaching 21st century skills, such as teamwork, collaboration and leadership. Thanks to a generous grant from the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation, our educators were able to transform one of our programs to include the key skills of Project Management.

The first year of the grant funded five Colorado schools, including 135 students and five teachers, to participate in an immersive semester-long program. The students and teachers performed pre-mission training, research and planning prior to a hands-on mission at the Space Foundation Discovery Center in Colorado Springs.

Missions ranged from the search for life on Mars to engineering design challenges. Each student was given a specific role, such as project manager, astronaut, mission specialist, communications or medical officer. Using project management principles, the team project managers were able to guide their team members through a schedule of actions to complete set tasks and finish the entire project on schedule.

What was the impact?
Teams came out of the program excited that they were able to overcome obstacles during their mission. In fact, the number one skill students felt was enhanced during the process was their problem-solving capability.

One student said, “I learned how to work better with a team and cooperate more.” Another mentioned, “Although many unplanned problems arose, my team and I were able to work around them so efficiently that we got done early. Everyone stayed on task until their task was done…”

In the end, survey results revealed that the students felt more confident in their leadership, organization, planning, problem solving, critical thinking and teamwork skills.

The Project Management grant will extend into next year, when the Space Foundation education team will expand the program’s reach internationally to teachers and students in India through a virtual experience.

Our thanks to the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation for providing these students and teachers with the opportunity to gain project management skills that will provide them value for a lifetime.

Learn more about Space Foundation education programs here.


This article is part of Space Watch: August 2017 (Volume: 16, Issue: 8).