LOS ANGELES, Feb. 7, 2008 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- As part of a national engineering initiative, Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) and Project Lead The Way, Inc., have extended their partnership to Virginia schools in an effort to strengthen the link between industry and education by promoting pre-engineering courses for middle and high school students. Two schools in Gloucester, Va., are now participating in the initiative, joining three public schools in San Diego's Poway Unified District that started the program in Oct. 2007.

The program pairs a Project Lead The Way(r) teacher with a Northrop Grumman engineer at each school site. The engineers serve as mentors for teachers and attend classes weekly. During these classes, the engineers guide students through real-world applications of lessons learned in the classroom, and students have the opportunity to collaborate and work directly with engineers.

"By establishing an ongoing relationship between an engineer and a classroom teacher, it is our goal to give students the opportunity to be inspired and consider careers in engineering, science and math. We have been very pleased with our partnership with Project Lead The Way and are excited by the reports we are receiving from our employee volunteers currently serving as mentors," said Sandra Evers-Manly, vice president of corporate responsibility for Northrop Grumman. "The engineer in the classroom adds another dimension to the information presented in a textbook. The engineer can share real-life experiences and real-world applications with students. We hope this innovative approach will help address the nation's shortage of engineers."

David Drake, an engineering supervisor in the automation department at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, and Fred Wielinga, an electrical project engineer at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, serve as mentors at Peasley Middle School and Page Middle School, both located in Gloucester, Va.

"This initiative is not an enrichment program. It is not a one-week conference between teachers and industry," said Elizabeth Russell, Virginia State Director of Career and Technical Education. "Rather, it is an ongoing curriculum mentoring that brings the best knowledge and skills of two professionals together on a weekly basis to benefit students."

Under this first-of-its-kind program, the classroom teacher will model effective teaching techniques and follow Project Lead The Way(r) high school Pathways To Engineering or middle school Gateway To Technology(r) courses. Engineers will assist the classroom teacher by sharing their knowledge and industry experience to reinforce the specific requirements established for that day by the curriculum.

"This has been a great experience. The students are inquisitive as to what engineering is and what engineers do. I've enjoyed showing the students that engineering isn't intimidating -- it's just using math and technology to solve problems. It is very satisfying helping my community and finding out there are so many great kids that are interested in technology," said Drake.

To assist the classroom teacher during the second semester, the mentor engineer will work directly with students or teams of students within the classroom on selected activities. They may include presenting examples from the industry to the class in alignment with the curriculum plan and supporting the program outside the classroom through presentations to interested parents and community groups on topics such as the importance of school and industry relationships, careers in the industry and at Northrop Grumman, and visions of the future in engineering.

Project Lead The Way, Inc., is the premier pre-engineering high school and middle school program in the nation. Offered in over 2,722 schools, Project Lead The Way(r) offers: a multi-course curriculum; required professional training of all its teachers at summer institutes at the nation's finest engineering colleges and universities; a local, state, and national support system to establish quality standards; and college credit for teachers and students meeting its standards.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $32 billion global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

  CONTACT:  Tom Henson
          Northrop Grumman Corporation
          (310) 201-3458