Author: DOE Staff          Published: 5/4/2021                    U.S. DOE

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm Holds Roundtable at Howard Universtiy

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, at a roundtable with innovation leaders at Howard University, Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm highlighted the American Jobs Plan’s investments to bolster science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other minority serving institutions (MSIs). Watch a recording of the event HERE.

If we don’t invest in STEM students and faculty from diverse backgrounds, “We are missing out on untapped talent … leav[ing] us with narrower innovation, and insufficient solutions to the problems we face,” Secretary Granholm said. “We simply can’t abide blind spots like this—particularly as we work towards our transition to clean energy…an inclusive transition, offering benefits to every community.”

Increasing diversity in STEM fields is a key priority for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Biden-Harris Administration. As Secretary Granholm noted, “We know that who’s at the table matters.”

President Biden’s American Jobs Plan calls for a dedicated reserve of $20 billion in upgrading research infrastructure in laboratories at HBCUs and other MSIs, including the creation of a new HBCU-affiliated National Lab focused on climate. The plan also invests $10 billion in research and development at HBCUs and other MSIs and $15 billion to create up to 200 centers of excellence that serve as research incubators at HBCUs.

Granholm also announced $17.3 million in DOE funding to support college internships, research projects and opportunities, and to bolster investment in underrepresented HBCUs and MSIs.

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Biden’s proposal earmarks $40 billion to modernize laboratories throughout the country, a measure designed to increase research and development. Half of those dollars would be directed to historically Black schools and minority-serving institutions and help create a new national lab focused on climate change and affiliated with an HBCU, according to the White House.

For universities such as Howard, the proposal would provide the resources students need, professors said.

“Students need to have access to the latest and greatest of technologies so they can have hands-on training so that when they go into these corporations they are ready to go from day one,” said Quinton Williams, chair of Howard’s physics and astronomy department.

E&E News | Granholm’s first visit outside the office? Howard University

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm made her first outside-the-agency stop yesterday, pitching President Biden’s $2.2 trillion infrastructure plan at Howard University — one of the historically Black colleges and universities that could benefit from its passage.

Granholm told a roundtable that Biden’s plan calls for $40 billion to upgrade research infrastructure in laboratories across the country, with half of the money reserved for historically Black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions. Biden’s proposal also calls for a new Department of Energy national lab focused on the climate that would be affiliated with a historically Black school.

“This administration is committed to making the transition to clean energy an inclusive transition, offering benefits to every community because not every community has benefited,” said Secretary Granholm, noting that many communities of color have been disproportionately harmed by pollution. “We want to make sure that voices are at the table that are representative of the communities who can benefit from this transition.”

UPI | PHOTOS: Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm Holds Roundtable at Howard University