Supporting that passion and spirit of service, CH2M partners with organizations in our operating countries to develop sustainable communities and promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education by fostering employee engagement. We give through two methods: the globally focused CH2M Foundation and local office and employee contributions.
The CH2M Foundation is committed to deeper, longer partnerships, enabled by a cadre of talented employee volunteers who promote human progress by turning challenge into opportunity. Governed by an employee board, the award-winning CH2M Foundation awards $1 million in support of its strategic partners.
We love to tackle complex challenges, and we know that our best solutions come out of close, trusted partnerships with our clients and the communities we touch.
Building the workforce of tomorrow
The two most critical ingredients for an effective STEM initiative are students and teachers. CH2M supports innovative programs to inspire students and enable teachers around the world and thereby supplementing the talent pipeline required by both our clients and ourselves:
- Dow-CH2M Smithsonian Science Education Academy for Teachers (U.S): In a demonstration of partnership and shared values around STEM education, the Dow Foundation and CH2M Foundation send 30+ science teachers each summer to a week-long science education academy at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., heightening their ability to inspire and enlighten students in STEM education. Following the summer program, the teachers take their experiences back to their classrooms, while continuing their professional growth through peer networking, mentoring, and interaction with Dow and CH2M employee volunteers.
- Summer Engineering Residential Programme (UK): Through the London-based Social Mobility Foundation, CH2M introduces high school students to engineering opportunities through hands-on activities, coaching, and visits to London’s most iconic CH2M infrastructure projects such as the site of the award-winning 2012 London Olympics. During the week-long Engineering Residential Programme in our London office, 20 students from low-income backgrounds and communities across the UK have one-on-one mentoring with professionals; visit CH2M engineering projects in the field; do hands-on activities and simulations; and hear from engineers about a variety of projects. The participants continue to receive mentoring in the year following. The CH2M Foundation also supports the Social Mobility Foundation’s regional office in Glasgow.
- Green Infrastructure and STEM Education Pilot Project (U.S.): We’re working with The Nature Conservancy and students at W.B. Saul High School in Philadelphia to teach, design, and construct a green stormwater and STEM education pilot project. This first-of-its-kind pilot program received the US2020 STEM Mentoring Award for Excellence in Public-Private Partnerships. The goal of the partnership is twofold: to increase interest in green STEM careers through access to CH2M and conservancy mentors and project-based learning, and to engage the school community around the value of green infrastructure solutions, which may include bioswales, pocket wetlands, green roofs, or rain gardens, to create healthier urban environments.
- STEM Partnerships Program, Denver School of Science and Technology (U.S.): We’re funding special partnerships with universities and colleges, internship programs, and career events to ensure DSST high school graduates persist and succeed in their higher education STEM studies. This program connects with over 750 alumni for increased alumni connections and awareness of career interests, has an alumni summer internship program, and coordinates STEM events that facilitate exposure to STEM careers.
- Girls Inc. of Metro Denver (U.S.): The CH2M Foundation provides funds and volunteers for the five-year Eureka! STEM program for middle and high school girls, including a four-week summer program on the Metro State University campus in Denver; an annual CH2M Transportation Engineering Week led by CH2M volunteers from our Denver’s Women’s Networking Group; a paid summer internship; and a travel-abroad experience.
- Let’s Talk Science Challenge (Canada): We support a science competition where 3,300 middle school students from 24 communities across Canada engage in team-based study and science competitions. This program offers employee engagement opportunities in judging, speaking, and mentoring. We offer a range of STEM support in each community, including outreach trips, professional development, community events, in-class educator support, help planning for guest speakers and career field trips, as well as promotion of the partnership between Let’s Talk Science and funding partners in each community.
- Think Science Expo, Emirates Foundation (United Arab Emirates): Through our third annual investment in the “Think Science” Expo, 3,000+ Emirati high school and university students learn to design and build science-based innovations and hear from CH2M volunteers about the role STEM education plays in the world’s infrastructure.
- Polish Children’s Fund, STEM Workshops (Poland): We are supporting two STEM education programs: a math workshop for 35 high school students at the Institute of Mathematics at the Jagiellonian University in Kracow), and an Innovation Workshop for 20 high school students at the Centre of New Technologies at the University of Warsaw. The Polish Children’s Fund helps exceptionally gifted students from all social backgrounds to develop their academic interests and artistic talents.
Building sustainable communities
Our passion for building lasting, life-changing infrastructure continues to be demonstrated through our support of our three strategic partners that provide access to clean water and develop sustainable communities. These groups improve the lives of millions of people each year by providing access to clean water; building bridges that link communities to education, health care facilities and markets; and providing energy to power schools and health clinics.
- Bridges to Prosperity: For the 900 million people worldwide who lack basic transportation infrastructure, commuting realities can be challenging and even hazardous. Since formalizing our partnership with Bridges to Prosperity through a US$100,000+ grant in 2014, the CH2M Foundation has funded 56 employees to build 7 footbridges in Panama, Nicaragua, Rwanda, the Philippines and East Timor, improving thousands of lives. Bridges to Prosperity’s research shows that building a footbridge in a rural community leads to an 18 percent increase in women's employment, a 24 percent increase in healthcare treatment and a 12 percent boost in school enrollment.
- Engineers Without Borders USA: Engineers Without Borders USA is building a better world through engineering projects that empower communities to meet their basic human needs and equip leaders to solve the world’s most pressing infrastructure challenges. As the first corporate partner of Engineers Without Borders beginning in 2004, the CH2M Foundation provides annual grants to support Engineers Without Borders’ operating programs, helping to bring basic infrastructure solutions to developing communities in 39 countries. This work affects more than 2.5 million lives by providing access to clean water; building bridges that link communities to education, health care facilities and markets; and providing energy to power schools and health clinics.
- Water For People: Born of the vision of water technology leaders at CH2M and Black & Veatch and the American Water Works Association, Water For People helps people around the world gain and keep access to clean water and sanitation. Water For People’s goal is simple: provide complete water coverage for every family, every school and every clinic in the nine countries where they work, bringing everyone together to make a difference. We continue to be a significant sponsor of Water For People, providing project grants and conducting an annual employee giving campaign, raising more than $2.2 million since 2003 in donations to ensure access to clean, safe drinking water and sanitation.
The CH2M Foundation also provides matching funds for employee contributions to disaster relief.
When employees offer their skills through volunteering, the rewards are huge. Whether they are mentoring a young person, providing a teacher real-life STEM experience, securing safe water supplies for a community or building a bridge, the givers benefit as much as the recipients. "Our people make a difference in communities around the world through their daily work,” said Ellen Sandberg, executive director of the foundation. “The CH2M Foundation reinforces their commitment by focusing on areas of critical importance to our employees, our clients and the communities we serve."
Recognizing employees for donating their time and talent and providing volunteer programs that foster pride, loyalty and camaraderie creates strong building blocks for employee engagement at CH2M.