DeEtte Gray

Over the next few weeks, students across the country will be heading back to school.

“Each school year offers students exciting new challenges and unique opportunities for intellectual growth and personal development,” said BAE Systems President, DeEtte Gray

Gray would know. She’s a former North Carolina school teacher, who now oversees more than 6,000 employees managing a business that delivers a broad range of services including IT, Cybersecurity, Geospatial Imagery and Analysis, which enable the U.S. Intelligence and Defense communities to recognize, manage and defeat threats.

“Teaching was a great leadership experience,” said Gray. “It turns out commanding a classroom is good preparation for the boardroom.”

While the former teacher has left the classroom, she hasn’t forgotten the lessons about the importance of education that she learned along the way. That’s why Gray is making strategic investments at a time when many companies are looking to cut employee training and reduce costs.

“Our customers rely on us to develop innovative solutions,” said Gray. “We need well-rounded engineers and analysts capable of tackling today’s challenges and looking ahead to defeat threats on the next front.”

This year, Gray invested almost two million dollars to develop I&S University, a sector-wide training initiative to provide employees with skill enhancement and career advancement. I&S University offers specialized technical courses and certifications in a variety of topics such as malware analysis, website construction, and mobile application development. The program also offers even the most seasoned analysts training on emerging regional threats and the history of cyber conflict. More importantly, each class is open to every employee. It’s not uncommon to see an engineer practicing their writing skills in an Intelligence Writing Workshop.

“We are fortunate to have very bright and inquisitive professionals,” said Gray. “Our people are continually asking themselves - What things can I do better? What can our teams do to help our customers more effectively achieve their missions?”

To ensure the training meets the demands of its customers, I&S University has aligned many of its most technical cybersecurity training initiatives with the guidelines set by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE). I&S University also provides training for important industry accreditations, such as the Project Management Institute’s esteemed Project Management Professional certification. The program also coordinates industry brainstorming discussions to develop best practices.

“Our investment is part of our entrepreneurial culture,” said Gray. “We are empowering our employees to learn and to innovate, and giving them tools to succeed. Our people are counted on by our customers for their expertise, commitment and compelling ideas.”

I&S University has offered more than 70 courses this year, most of which were developed by subject matter experts within BAE Systems. Through July, employees have logged more than 12,000 hours in training through this initiative. All classes are offered for free and are open to employees across BAE Systems, Inc.