Dayton Needs You

The Air Force Research Lab, over the next few years, is facing the challenge of filling about 1,200 highly specialized personnel slots at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, outside of Dayton, so it can establish centers of excellence for human performance and sensors research and development by 2011. BRAC 2005 mandated the consolidation of several AFRL research sites from across the country at Wright-Patterson. By law, these consolidated missions must be up and running by Sept. 15, 2011. AFRL has already established a new 711th Human Performance Wing at the base and has launched an expansive construction effort there to accommodate the growth. Since historically a very small percentage of civilian personnel elect to relocate, AFRL must attract this new workforce from other Department of Defense installations, industry, and academia, at a time when the US is continuing to lose science and engineering experience as an aging workforce retires and less young people specialize in fields of mathematics and science. Promising methods of recruitment include funding science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education for youth locally and nationally, including AFRL summer hire and co-op programs that capitalize on the presence of AFRL labs and mentors, said Joe Sciabica, AFRL’s executive director, during a regional defense forum May 6 at the base. “If we can get the younger generation into our research areas for a summer or two or three, they tend to get hooked,” he said. (Wright-Patterson report by Derek Kaufman)