LDA Engineering will commit $250,000 of employee volunteer time and financial donations over the next 10 years to school systems in Tennessee communities where its employees work, live and serve, the company announced Thursday at a ribbon-cutting event celebrating its new Blount County office. The civil and environmental engineering firm will make contributions to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education initiatives in several Tennessee school districts. LDA is launching the initiative in conjunction with its move to a new office space at Tyson Centre in Alcoa.
LDA has a three-decade track record of working on projects that are significant to the communities in which it operates. Examples range from conserving the Alcoa duck pond to protecting downtown Johnson City from mounting flooding issues to assisting with wastewater compliance programs in Oak Ridge, Morristown, and Knoxville. The donations of these funds and employee hours are no different. As an employee-owned engineering firm, LDA is passionate about ensuring the advancement and promotion of innovative thinking and STEM-focused learning in Tennessee’s classrooms.
The company will launch the STEM initiative within the following school systems (K-12) in 2016: Alcoa City, Maryville City, Blount County, Clayton-Bradley STEM Academy, L&N STEM Academy, Knox County, Oak Ridge and Hamblen County.
LDA will make an annual call for applications to identify partner programs for the upcoming academic year. Once LDA has chosen the projects in which it will invest, the firm will devote employee staff time and charitable giving dollars to advance core missions and activities of the selected programs. Each LDA employee will invest between eight and 16 hours of paid time annually.
LDA will consider the following criteria during its review of annually submitted applications:
- Accurate completion and submission of the LDA Engineering STEM Initiative application form by the stated application deadline
- STEM classes, programs or organizations (K-12) that serve students who attend one or more of the following East Tennessee schools/school systems: Alcoa City, Maryville City, Blount County, Clayton-Bradley STEM Academy, L&N STEM Academy, Oak Ridge and Hamblen County.
- Monetary funding requests of $5,000 or less and/or LDA employee volunteerism request of 40 hours or less
Funds and/or LDA volunteer hours must be applied and expended directly as requested, fully by the end of the academic year in which the application and grant is made, with supporting documentation provided by the grantee no later than June 1 following the academic year.
Preference will be given to programs and organizations that include a monetary request as well as the opportunity for LDA employees to volunteer participation hours in order to assist in student learning efforts. Organizations with a 501(c) (3) nonprofit status or similar credentials and those that have exhibited at least a one-year track record of participation and student outcomes will also have preference.
LDA Engineering President and CEO, Jason Brooks devised the initiative. “LDA Engineering is focused on a greater commitment to serving the communities where we live and work, and with that focus we wish to support and participate in activities that will develop future professional engineers and scientists,” said Brooks. “We strongly believe in the educational initiatives of STEM programs, and we want to support these initiatives with the commitment of our time, support and resources. STEM programs are the best opportunity we have to introduce engineering early in the learning process to facilitate and encourage continued interest in math and science.”
Current applications for the inaugural class are initially due on March 31, 2016. For more information regarding specifics on the qualifications, contact: Jason Brooks, LDA Engineering, 865-573-7672, [email protected].