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The Department of Defense announced today cooperative agreement awards of up to $55 million to five awardees under the National Defense Education Program (NDEP) to foster the development of Two Year Institution/Community College (2YI/CC) Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education consortia. Each consortium will receive an initial award of $5 million over a three-year base period, with the possibility of three one-year option periods at $2 million per year, totaling an award ceiling of up to $11 million over six years.
"The Department of Defense recognizes how critical the STEM workforce pipeline is to our future national security. Two-year institutions and community colleges play a key role in educating, training, and transitioning students onto a path to a STEM career," said Heidi Shyu, Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. "These awardees are not only preparing students for careers in the defense sector, they are also building transition pathways to four year degrees. By investing in these educational institutions—and reaching out to underserved communities and veterans—we are broadening the defense innovation base, making it possible for more Americans to get the education and skills our nation will need to stay ahead."
Selected consortia will implement far-reaching, sustainable programs; promote the completion of certificate training programs aligned to DoD critical technology areas; and/or increase transition from 2YI/CC programs to STEM degrees from 4-Year Institutions (4YIs), especially amongst underserved and underrepresented populations, as well as veterans and their spouses.
The awards are structured with a Lead Institution organizing a consortium of partners including 2YI/CCs, 4YI, industry, local education agencies, and nonprofits. The Lead Institution provides overall leadership and management of the Consortium, as well as coordinates overarching efforts. Each Consortium will collaboratively work with the DoD and its members to promote partnerships that enhance STEM education at 2YI/CCs, while aligning to the DoD STEM mission: to inspire, cultivate, and develop exceptional STEM talent to enrich our current and future DoD workforce.
Activities will support the DoD Fiscal Year 2021 – 2025 STEM Strategic Plan, and align to the 2018 Federal STEM Strategic Plan. Several of these efforts will include participation with the Department's laboratories and military installations across the country.
The awardees are:
Denver Metro Engineering Consortium (DMEC) Cooperative Agreement: Broadening Participation in Community College Transfer Pathways by Building "College Capital"
The goal of DMEC is to increase the number of underrepresented students earning associate degrees and transferring to undergraduate engineering programs, and is accomplished through the creation of multiyear, year-round transfer pathways that integrate academic coursework with paid research and internship opportunities, along with intensive wrap-around support (i.e., intrusive guidance, academic skills development, advising, mentorship, etc.) and STEM career awareness.
Ohio TechNet (OTN) Defense Industrial Base (DIB) STEM Consortium
Lead colleges Lorain County Community College (LCCC) and Sinclair Community College (SCC) will facilitate engagement of consortium partners and others in the OTN network to foster in-demand talent and advance STEM workforce innovations. LCCC is focusing on the adoption of Automation & Robotics while SCC is exploring Digital Thread technologies. This initiative leverages an existing and highly effective teacher training pilot program which was developed in partnership with ARCTOS Technology Solutions, a global aerospace and defense contractor, the Ohio Manufacturers' Association, and Institutes within the Manufacturing USA network.
A Collaborative Pennsylvania-wide Community College Consortium for Enhancing STEM and Cybersecurity Education: Indiana University of Pennsylvania Research Institute
Seven consortium institutions will work together to enhance STEM education across Pennsylvania with special emphasis on cybersecurity. The program's main goal is to increase completion rates of certificate training programs that strengthen the DIB workforce and increase the rate of students transitioning from 2YI/CCs to STEM degrees at 4YIs, particularly amongst students from underrepresented groups.
The Military City USA (MCUSA) Consortium
The Military City USA (MCUSA) consortium will follow a Recruit, Prepare, Place, and Succeed (RPPS) model to ensure the success and sustainability of a strong DIB base. The MCUSA consortium includes all five 2YI/CCs and both four-year public universities in the San Antonio area, six Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), and one Historically Black College and University (HBCU) for a unified approach to strengthening a diverse STEM Ecosystem in the region.
Inclusive Engineering Consortium (IEC) 2to4: Facilitated Transition from 2-Year to 4-Year Engineering Studies
The Inclusive Engineering Consortium (IEC)–a non-profit organization that has at its core Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) programs at fifteen HBCUs, three HSIs, and two Tribal Colleges and Universities–will build, implement, and support a consortium of 2YI/CCs with the goal of at least doubling the number of CC students transferring into its 4-year partner institutions or other 4YIs, based on what is best for each student. Each of the nineteen 4-year programs has existing relationships with local 2YI/CCs to support transitions from 2-year to 4-year engineering degree programs. The lone IEC community college—the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute—has similar relationships based on verbal agreements with 4YIs in New Mexico. With these programs as the hubs, the IEC will greatly expand its membership to include the key 2YI/CCs whose students are pursuing Bachelor's of Science degrees in IEC ECE programs. They will provide the backbone organization for a nationwide network of 2YI/CCs uniquely able to support the DoD vision of a diverse and sustainable talent pool in electrical and computer engineering.
The Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (USD(R&E) is the Chief Technology Officer of the Department of Defense. The USD(R&E) champions research, science, technology, engineering, and innovation to maintain the United States military's technological advantage. Learn more at www.cto.mil, follow us on Twitter @DoDCTO, or visit us on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/ousdre.
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