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L3Harris Hosts Women’s Global Gathering Panel on Shaping the Future Space Workforce

The challenge facing the rapidly evolving space industry – above all others – is how stakeholders across the national security, civil and commercial sectors cultivate a diverse and skilled workforce that’s prepared for the challenges and opportunities ahead.

That was the primary focus of this year’s thought-provoking Women’s Global Gathering Luncheon panel discussion, hosted by L3Harris during Space Symposium 2024 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

This year’s panel brought together accomplished leaders from the U.S. Air Force, NASA, L3Harris, Lockheed Martin, Intuitive Machines and Millennium Space Systems for a memorable discussion on the critical future of space exploration and defense – and the development of a workforce capable of reaching new frontiers.

The panel, “Shaping the Future Space Workforce: A Holistic Approach to Innovation and Inclusion,” was moderated by Lauren Barnes, President of L3Harris’ Broadband Communications Systems business. Melanie Stricklan, inaugural Executive Director of Space Workforce 2030 (SW2030), served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event. Christina Hoggatt, Director of Strategic Marketing & Communications for L3Harris’ Space & Airborne Systems business, served as the Corporate Host.

Panelists included:

Panelists discussed ways to bridge gaps between education and industry, successful models of inclusivity and innovation, and policy recommendations that support workforce development.

“More than any other industry, space demands a diversity of perspectives, talents and experiences to tackle the complex challenges ahead of us,” L3Harris’ LaTasha Dandy said. “We need to make diversity and inclusion core to our workforce strategies – from how we recruit and hire to how we develop and promote our people.”

Key Takeaways:

  • The future space workforce won’t just require those with STEM prowess. Adaptability, critical thinking skills, and ethical and social awareness are among the skills that will be critical to success in a dynamic and complex industry.
  • More industry-academia partnerships are needed to build a more diverse talent pipeline. Internships, research projects and hands-on training experiences in real-world space projects are great avenues for enhancing practical skills and industry readiness.
  • Cross-industry collaboration is essential to ensuring space remains safe and secure for generations to come. That includes working together to share best practices on cultivating inclusive cultures and driving progress toward diversity goals.

“Space belongs to all of us, and we all own a share in its future,” Dandy said. “Let’s work together to build a diverse workforce that will steward our industry to new heights of innovation and discovery.”