Northrop Grumman Corp.

To compete with Silicon Valley for engineers, aerospace firms start recruitment in pre-kindergarten

To compete with Silicon Valley for engineers, aerospace firms start recruitment in pre-kindergarten

USC mechanical engineering junior Stephanie Balais developed a passion for aerospace after joining the university’s AeroDesign team and helping to construct an airplane fuselage hours before transporting the plane to a competition in Kansas.

As internships beckoned, she sent in a number of applications to top defense and aerospace firms. But Microsoft Corp. snagged her first. This summer, Balais, 20, will spend 13 weeks in Redmond, Wash., working in the tech giant’s manufacturing and supply chain department.

Silicon Valley and other tech centers have always been popular landing places for young engineers, with their lure of cutting-edge technology...

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