General Dynamics C4 Systems: building pipelines of talent
This defense contractor seeks engineers who can get government security clearances, from diverse students
to seasoned pros. Its employees mentor young students
General Dynamics C4 Systems (C4 Systems) is a business unit of the American defense and aerospace company General Dynamics. C4 Systems specializes in communications networking, secure computing, information assurance and cyber defense. The U.S. Department of Defense, federal and civilian agencies, the intelligence community, and international business are among C4 Systems’ customers.
“General Dynamics C4 Systems employees develop technology that makes a difference around the world. They pursue new ideas and integrated solutions that come from embracing diverse perspectives cultivated in an inclusive, agile and respectful work environment,” says HR director Kevin Jardine, who leads employee relations functions across the C4 Systems engineering and integration organization.
Jobs and outreach at C4 Systems
C4 Systems looks for engineers in a variety of disciplines, particularly systems and software engineers. “Familiarity with information assurance products, procedures and implementation are also important. Many positions require that employees acquire government security clearances. Security clearances are granted by the government based on needs of particular programs,” Jardine explains. This spring, about forty engineering positions were available at C4 Systems locations nationwide.
C4 Systems works with a number of organizations to spread word of its job openings, and actively participates in events throughout the year to attract top talent, according to Jardine. Partners in this effort include the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers, the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers, and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.
“In addition, we work with many universities nationwide in our recruiting efforts. We work with on-campus career services offices and have relationships with professors and alumni organizations,” says Jardine. C4 Systems is an active member of multiple advisory boards, including the Arizona State University engineering industry advisory board and the industry advisory council for the Arizona State University School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering.
“We also participate in college job fairs and diversity hiring events to ensure we are finding the best candidates,” Jardine adds.
Everyone participates in diversity practices
C4 Systems requires annual online training modules to remind employees and managers of their responsibility to treat all employees equally, says Jardine. In addition, the company encourages employees to form groups that foster inclusivity.
“One such group is Future Focus, a grassroots platform initiated and led by employees. It aims to enhance each individual’s ability to improve our business through learning, networking and cultivating innovation.” Mentoring programs operate in a similar fashion, he says.
“We have many employees involved in mentoring relationships, which we encourage and help facilitate. We have found that in our business, those relationships work best when they are initiated organically by employees and managers rather than as part of an official company program,” Jardine notes.
To assist with work-life balance, C4 Systems offers flextime and telecommuting options, as well as pre-tax benefit programs for child and elder care.
Inspiring a new generation of potential engineers
The company’s most significant science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program is eCrew, short for “Engineering Crew,” Jardine says. Established in 2010, eCrew is a partnership among General Dynamics, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale (BGCGS) and the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University.
“The eleven-week program educates and excites junior high students about science and technology,” Jardine explains. “It teaches students from BGCGS about the engineering process, engaging them in hands-on activities in a variety of STEM areas.”
C4 Systems employee volunteers lead weekly engineering challenges, which reflect the evolving business priorities of the company. A recent challenge focuses on the process of human-centered design.
Employees answer technical questions, provide insight into the challenge projects, and encourage friendly competition, which makes the math and science lessons easy and fun.
“The success of the program is due entirely to our employee volunteers,” Jardine says. “After each ‘graduation,’ they continue to donate their time to other BGCGS activities and stay in touch with eCrew grads. Although not all students decide to pursue STEM studies afterward, the problem-solving and communication skills developed during the program have benefitted them all.”
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