Economic Development Administration -- STEM Talent Challenge Program

Funding Agency:
Department of Commerce

The U.S Economic Development Administration’s STEM Talent Challenge aims to build STEM talent training systems to strengthen regional innovation economies. The FY21 STEM Talent Challenge will award a total of $2 million in grants to organizations that are creating and implementing STEM talent development strategies that complement their region’s innovation economy. View the FY20 STEM Challenge grantees here.

Projects should aim to identify opportunities in high-growth potential sectors, and to expand and empower the innovation economy workforce, including by:

  • Engaging regional entrepreneurs, innovators, and the organizations that support them to assess and forecast current and future talent needs and to develop collaborative solutions with work-based programs;
  • Building highly skilled talent and connecting it to highly technical opportunities that foster professional development and provide continuing advanced skills training to develop the technical and scientific workforce that regional innovation initiatives need;
  • Strengthening collaboration among entrepreneurs, industry leaders and employers, educational organizations, established corporations, economic and/or workforce development organizations, and the public sector to enable better access to skilled workers and to develop demand-driven workforce pipelines for the innovation economy; and
  • Placing new employees into immediate job openings with regional employers in need of STEM talent.

Competition applicants may request up to $250,000 for implementation of a 24-month program. A 1:1 funding match is required.

Deadline: Oct. 12, 2021

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Eligible applications for and eligible recipients of EDA investment assistance under this NOFO include:

• a State;

• an Indian tribe;

• a city or other political subdivision of a State;

• an entity that is— a nonprofit organization; an institution of higher education; a public-private partnership; a science or research park; a Federal laboratory; an economic development organization or similar entity; and that has an application supported by a State, a political subdivision of a State, or a native organization; or

• a consortium of any of the above-mentioned eligible applicants

Amount Description

Funding in the amount of $2,000,000 has been appropriated for grants made under the STEM Talent Challenge pursuant to the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.1 The funding periods and funding amounts referenced in this NOFO are subject to the availability of funds at the time of award as well as to U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) and EDA priorities at the time of award. DOC and EDA will not be held responsible for application preparation costs. Publication of this announcement does not obligate DOC or EDA to make any specific grant award or to obligate all or any part of available funds. The maximum federal share of each STEM Talent Challenge award is $250,000. This funding should be used for program implementation during the period of performance.

Funding Type





Community Outreach and Engagement
Curriculum Development
Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences

External Deadline

October 12, 2021