You perhaps know that Raytheon, with its corporate jet operation, is a shining star in Little Rock’s manufacturing sector. An expanding pool of very well-paid workers (more than the local vo-tech community can supply) is adding tons of value to private jets here. It’s one of the city’s great success stories.

And, did you know, Raytheon is one of the greatest friends to equal treatment of gay people?

Read on in the link. If I could afford it, I’d buy a jet from them. Even if their goodness is purely a bottom-line decision.

As a high-profile supporter of gay rights, Raytheon of course provides health-care benefits to the domestic partners of its gay employees. It does a lot more, too. The company supports a wide array of gay-rights groups, including the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay-advocacy group. Its employees march under the Raytheon banner at gay-pride celebrations and AIDS walks.


Corporate America backs gay rights

And it belongs to gay chambers of commerce in communities where it has big plants. Why? you may ask. Not because gay people buy missiles or radar – at least as far as we know. No, it’s because the competition to hire and retain engineers and other skilled workers is so brutal that Raytheon doesn’t want to overlook anyone.

To attract openly gay workers, who worry about discrimination, a company like Raytheon needs to hang out a big welcome sign. “Over the next ten years we’re going to need anywhere from 30,000 to 40,000 new employees,” explains Heyward Bell, Raytheon’s chief diversity officer. “We can’t afford to turn our back on anyone in the talent pool.”

Can’t afford to turn our back on anyone. A line for the ages.