Author: US EDA  Staff         Published: 1/27/2022      EDA

STEM logo - grantees announced

Today, EDA announced the eight grant recipients of the STEM Talent Challenge, a national competition that supports programs to train STEM talent to create a robust STEM-capable workforce across the country, and boost U.S. competitiveness on the global stage. [Click here for press release]

The $2 million STEM Talent Challenge funds programs that put Americans across the country on paths to good-paying STEM jobs and careers. The grantees’ programs give industry sectors access to talent in their own communities to fill in-demand jobs, help drive innovation and strengthen regional economies across the nation.

U.S. Assistant Secretary Alejandra Y. Castillo participated in an announcement event today at The Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, Penn.

The eight awardees, selected from a pool of 77 applicants, will leverage an additional $2.5 million in matching funds from a variety of private and public sector sources.

The STEM Talent Challenge grant recipients are:

Grantee: Chicanos Por La Causa (Phoenix, Arizona)

Sector: Advanced Manufacturing and Aerospace

Project Description: The Virtual Reality STEM Workforce Program will provide virtual reality-based career exploration opportunities and trainings necessary to enter critical job sectors, primarily related to semiconductor manufacturing and the aerospace industry.

Grantee: LabCentral (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

Sector: Biotechnology

Project Description: The LabCentral Ignite Career Forge program – which seeks to make the biotechnology industry more diverse, equitable and inclusive – will match talent with jobs and internships within LabCentral’s network of startups and industry hiring organizations.

Grantee: Metropolitan Community College (Omaha, Nebraska)

Sector: Information Technology

Project Description: Project OCTEIN will strengthen the STEM talent pipeline for IT businesses with a new workforce model that features recruitment of underrepresented individuals, training and certification, job placement, work-based learning opportunities, and other programs.

Grantee: Purdue Polytechnic Anderson (Anderson, Indiana)

Sector: Manufacturing and Agri-Technology

Project Description: Purdue Polytechnic Anderson will build upon the success of several industry-driven pilot programs and use a community-driven approach known as Strategic Doing to transform to the bachelor’s degree curriculum into micro-credentialing and job placement programs.

Grantee: Rung for Women (St. Louis, Missouri)

Sector: Geospatial Technology

Project Description: The Women in Geospatial Careers program seeks to increase the number of women, especially women of color, in geospatial careers by providing coaching, training, support, and skill development needed to successfully enter geospatial careers.

Grantee: The University of Alabama at Birmingham (Birmingham, Alabama)

Sector: Data Science and Health Technology

Project Description: The Magic City Data Collective will bring together students and data professionals in project teams to conduct real-world data analysis that provides students with critical skills and experience to move into in-demand jobs in the local health technology sector.

Grantee: The Wistar Institute (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Sector: Biotechnology

Project Description: The Quality Science Pathway Apprenticeship will provide a unique pathway into quality science, a field which strives to ensure that products are free of defects, deficiencies, and significant variations, through job training, certification, and apprenticeship.

Grantee: Utah State University (Logan, Utah)

Sector: Advanced Manufacturing, Renewable Energy, and Electric Vehicle Transportation

Project Description: A work-based learning model will meet the talent needs of the advanced manufacturing, renewable energy, and electric vehicle transportation industries in Utah through internships, mentorship, and assessments that will reach about 350 engineering students, including 40 percent from traditionally unrepresented groups.

For more information, please visit EDA’s STEM Talent Challenge webpage at and follow the hashtag #STEMTalentChallenge on social media.