With plans to add nearly 1,000 positions by the end of 2013, Kansas City-based engineer Burns & McDonnell isn't wasting any time on its recruiting efforts, both short and long term. One effort aimed at its future workforce is the “Battle of the Brains” competition, a pilot program launched this summer to introduce area K-12 students to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The competitions are judged using social media.
Students are vying to redesign Science City, an interactive educational center that is the highlight of an 87-year-old, 850,000-sq-ft train depot turned cultural complex. The winning schools receive $150,000 in grant money. Burns & McDonnell is bankrolling “Battle of the Brains” through its foundation as part of a $1.3-million package pledge, announced on Feb. 25, to the 12-year-old, 280,000-sq-ft Science City. The company already underwrites the Burns & McDonnell Engineerium laboratory, a space inside Science City in which students can work, play and perform experiments using high-tech computers and robotics equipment. The company has committed $500,000 to expand and revamp the Science City exhibition space.