The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has published the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 STEM Talent Challenge Notice of Funding Opportunity making $2 million available to eligible entities to create and implement STEM talent development strategies that complement their region’s innovation economy. The STEM Talent Challenge provides funding for work-and-learn programs to increase America’s STEM-capable workforce in emerging and transformative sectors such as space commerce, aeronautics, digital manufacturing, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity.
The U.S Economic Development Administration’s STEM Talent Challenge aims to build STEM talent training systems to strengthen regional innovation economies. The FY21 STEM Talent Challenge will award a total of $2 million in grants to organizations that are creating and implementing STEM talent development strategies that complement their region’s innovation economy. View the FY20 STEM Challenge grantees here.
Projects should aim to identify opportunities in high-growth potential sectors, and to expand and empower the innovation economy workforce, including by:
- Engaging regional entrepreneurs, innovators, and the organizations that support them to assess and forecast current and future talent needs and to develop collaborative solutions with work-based programs;
- Building highly skilled talent and connecting it to highly technical opportunities that foster professional development and provide continuing advanced skills training to develop the technical and scientific workforce that regional innovation initiatives need;
- Strengthening collaboration among entrepreneurs, industry leaders and employers, educational organizations, established corporations, economic and/or workforce development organizations, and the public sector to enable better access to skilled workers and to develop demand-driven workforce pipelines for the innovation economy; and
- Placing new employees into immediate job openings with regional employers in need of STEM talent.
Competition applicants may request up to $250,000 for implementation of a 24-month program. A 1:1 funding match is required.
The STEM Talent Challenge is authorized under Section 28 of the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 (15 U.S.C. § 3723).