The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) today announced five awards worth nearly $10 million to build regional workforce investment system capacity to support careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
"This $10 million initiative will help workers and youth prepare for success in careers requiring skills and education in science, technology, engineering and math," said DOL Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
STEM-related industries have been identified by the National Science Foundation as producing almost 50 percent of U.S. economic growth during the last 50 years. While approximately five percent of the nation's workforce is employed in STEM fields, there is growing concern about U.S. workers losing out on these high-quality careers.
The competitively selected projects will expand training and align current STEM-related activities and resources at One-Stop Career Centers; provide participants with access to STEM coaches and mentors who will link program participants to employers, and offer advice and guidance on entering STEM fields; and create "career blueprints" that will outline career paths for individual participants.
Award-winning organizations were chosen from among 92 applications received in response to a competition announced in January. These projects will train workers for such industries as advanced manufacturing, aerospace, biotechnology, information technology and renewable energy.
The selected projects and award amounts are:
- Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board — $2,000,000.
- Indianapolis Private Industry Council — $1,999,946.
- Central Massachusetts Regional Employment Board — $2,000,000.
- WorkFORCE Solutions of the Lower Rio Grande Valley (Texas) — $1,999,180.
- Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council (Washington state) — $2,000,000.