EDA: U.S. Department of Commerce Launches STEM Talent Challenge to Fuel Nation’s Growing Innovation

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced the launch of the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) STEM Talent Challenge to support programs to train science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) talent and fuel regional innovation economies across the nation.

The $2 million STEM Talent Challenge will provide 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. Competition applicants may request up to $250,000 for implementation of a 24-month workforce program that complements their region’s innovation economy. The deadline to apply is Oct. 12, 2021.

“The Biden Administration is committed to building a strong STEM-capable workforce that will put Americans at the forefront of innovation and increase American competitiveness on the global stage,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “The STEM Talent Challenge will help build a robust talent pool that will fuel business and innovation and lead to good-paying American jobs. Strengthening our workforce and industries of the future are a top priority for me, and this funding opportunity will strengthen the United States’ ability to compete in the global economy.”

“The workforce of tomorrow demands skilled workers and EDA is eager to support training that supports the talent needs of regional employers,” said Dennis Alvord, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “The STEM Talent Challenge seeks to increase innovation capacity and promote diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM fields.”

Competitive applications will demonstrate how the program will develop or expand regional STEM workforce capacity to support entrepreneurial ventures, industries of the future, and other innovation-driven businesses.

Eligible applicants include: cities, counties, states, other political subdivisions of states, and Indian tribes; non-profit organizations; public-private partnerships; federal laboratories or science/research parks; institutions of higher education; Economic Development Organizations; and a consortium of the aforementioned.

For more information, visit EDA’s STEM Talent Challenge webpage at https://www.eda.gov/oie/stem/

EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) administers the STEM Talent Challenge, which is authorized under Section 28 of the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Act of 1980.

This challenge builds on the momentum of EDA’s Build to Scale Program, which builds regional economies through scalable startups.

The STEM Talent Challenge is one of many EDA programs aimed at building strong regional economies and supporting community-led economic development. EDA also was allocated $3 billion in supplemental funding under the American Rescue Plan to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to build back better by accelerating economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building local economies that will be resilient to future economic shocks. For more information about EDA’s American Rescue Plan programs, visit https://www.eda.gov/ARPA/.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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