EDA launches $2 million STEM Talent Challenge

The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has launched the FY 2021 $2 million STEM Talent Challenge to support programs to train science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) talent and fuel regional innovation economies across the nation. The challenge will provide funding for work-and-learn programs to increase America’s workforce in emerging and transformative sectors such as space commerce, aeronautics, digital manufacturing, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity. 

NSF commits $50M to broaden STEM participation

The U.S. National Science Foundation has announced the establishment of five new NSF INCLUDES Alliances to enhance preparation, increase participation and ensure the inclusion of individuals from historically underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. The investment is part of an effort to address diversity, inclusion and participation challenges in STEM at a national scale.

STEM degrees can increase pay, but do not guarantee STEM employment after graduation

Students who earn bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math fields (STEM) are more likely than not to see an increase in pay; however, it is far from guaranteed that their post-graduation employment will be within a STEM-related sector. The Census Bureau recently reported that of the 50 million employed college graduates aged 25 to 64 in 2019, 37 percent reported a bachelor’s degree in science or engineering but only 14 percent worked in a STEM occupation. Of all the STEM workers, those who majored in STEM fields typically earned higher salaries than those who did not ($101,100 vs $87,600 on average).

Women gaining in STEM employment; still underrepresented overall

New one-year estimates from the American Community Survey (ACS) show that in 2019, women made up 48 percent of all workers but only 27 percent of STEM employees. This figure has risen over the last 50 years where, in 1970, women accounted for just 8 percent of STEM employees while representing 38 percent of all workers. While the disparity between the number of women in STEM and the number of women in the workforce has shrunk, they remain underrepresented in STEM careers.

$2M in STEM Challenge Grants awarded

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) has announced the seven recipients of the inaugural STEM Talent Challenge, awarding a total of $2 million in grants through the inaugural STEM Talent Challenge, which aims to boost local science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) talent. Three SSTI members were among the seven winners: Ohio University received a $295,643 grant in the digital manufacturing sector; University City Science Center won a $246,179 grant in biotechnology/cell and gene therapy; and, the University of Michigan won $300,000 in grant money in the advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity sector. More information on all of the recipients is available here. The funding opportunity kicked off in August 2020 to further build STEM workforce readiness and spur innovation.

EDA makes $2 million available for STEM talent

The Economic Development Administration’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) released a funding opportunity this morning for a new STEM Talent Challenge. The opportunity provides $2 million in total to governmental and nonprofit entities working to implement STEM apprenticeship models in their regions. Applicants may request up to $300,000 for an 18-24-month project, and no more than $50,000 may go toward planning and development, which should generally be completed within the first six months of the project period. EDA is seeking projects that will expand work-based learning for adults, increase regional innovation capacity, and expand diversity in STEM. OIE will host an informational webinar on Sept. 9, and proposals are due Oct. 14.

Useful Stats: Science and engineering degrees by state

The total number of science and engineering (S&E) degrees awarded grew from 520,474 in 2000 to 955,401 in 2018, an increase of 83 percent, according to National Science Foundation (NSF) data. The portion of S&E degrees awarded compared to all degrees has increased as well, from a 2000 average of 31 percent of all degrees awarded to an average of 34 percent in 2018. S&E degrees includes bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees in areas such as life sciences, physical sciences and engineering.

PCAST recommends bold actions to ensure American leadership in industries of the future

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) is recommending a set of bold actions to help ensure continued American leadership in Industries of the Future (IotF), comprising artificial intelligence (AI), quantum information science (QIS), advanced manufacturing, advanced communications, and biotechnology. The three pillars underpinning these actions are: enhancing multi-sector engagement in research and innovation; creating a new institute structure that integrates one or more of the IotF areas and spans discovery research to product development; and ensuring the availability of a qualified, diverse IotF workforce.

APLU report focuses on bolstering diversity in STEM faculty

Just 10 percent of STEM faculty at four-year institutions are from underrepresented backgrounds, according to a new report by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. The report and an accompanying guidebook, which were supported by the NSF INCLUDES grant, look at the lack of individuals from underrepresented backgrounds in STEM faculty positions and outline several key findings and steps for higher education leaders, researchers, and policymakers to bolster diversity in STEM faculty.

Addressing barriers for women is crucial to STEMM success

A report released earlier this month by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, addresses the barrier of inequality that women, despite making up more than 50 percent of the population, experience in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM). Further, women of color are severely underrepresented in every STEMM discipline. The report focuses on promoting systemic change in the STEMM enterprise in order to mitigate structural inequities, biases, discrimination, and harassment faced by many women, which consequently discourages education and careers in STEMM.


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