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STEM Talent Challenge Program

Grants to USA Local and State Governments, and Qualifying Organizations
and IHEs, for STEM Workforce Development Programs

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) - Economic Development Administration (EDA) - Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE)

Deadline Date:

10/12/21 11:59 PM Eastern Time - Receipt


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Grants to USA local, state, and tribal governments, and qualifying nonprofit organizations, IHEs, and other entities for programs that expand the regional STEM-related workforce capacity. Applicants are advised that required registrations may take several weeks to complete. Funding is intended to support the design and implementation of innovative science, technology, engineering, and math training systems and apprenticeship and work-based learning models. The purpose of the program is to encourage high-growth, high-wage entrepreneurial ventures, industries of the future, and other innovation-driven businesses that will accelerate economic growth and job creation.

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 grants to organizations that are creating and implementing STEM talent development strategies that complement their region’s innovation economy, particularly as such strategies relate to emerging, transformative sectors and future industries such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, advanced manufacturing and robotics, space exploration and commerce, bioscience, quantum information science, green products, processes and buildings, and aqua- and agricultural technologies. 

Successful applicants will focus on the following three goals:

  1. Utilize STEM work-based learning and training models
  2. Increase regional innovation capacity
  3. Promote diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM fields

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.

For Desired Outputs and Outcomes, see

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 198316

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Competition applicants may request up to $250,000.

Term of Contract:

Anticipated awards typically will have a period of performance of 24 months with an estimated start date of February 1, 2022.


  • City or township governments
  • County governments
  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
  • See RFP and/or Grant Guidelines for full eligibility

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants for EDA financial 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, or
- An economic development organization or similar entity;
and has an application that is supported by a State, a political subdivision of a State, or a native organization; or
- A consortium of any of the eligible applicants listed above.

Applications from individuals will not be considered for funding.

Organizations that are or plan to be operating within the period of performance of a previously-awarded STEM Talent Challenge grant as of February 1, 2022 are not eligible for award under this NOFO.

Construction activities are not allowable costs under the STEM Talent Challenge and may not be charged to the EDA funds of the project or provided as matching share, except in limited circumstances. For the purposes of an award made pursuant to this NOFO, construction includes any activity, including the installation of equipment, that disturbs the ground or modifies a structure. Additionally, the use of project funds to make equity, debt, or hybrid investments in businesses is not an allowable cost; neither EDA funds nor matching share may be used for such purposes.

Pre-Application Information:

The deadline for receipt of applications is 11:59 P.M. Eastern Time on October 12, 2021.

Successful applicants should expect to receive award notification approximately 90 - 120 days from the application deadline.

Applications will only be accepted electronically through ( To accommodate applicants’ accessibility requirements, a paper version of the application may be obtained by contacting EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) via email or phone.

Before applying, each applicant must both register with and register its Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) with Applicants should note that this process can be lengthy, requires interaction with multiple organizations outside of EDA, and requires confirmation at each step. Registration with can take between three to five business days or as long as four weeks if all steps are not completed correctly. To avoid delays, EDA strongly recommends that applicants start early.

Applicants must obtain a DUNS nNumber. In addition, applicants are required to:
(i) Be registered in SAM before submitting an application;
(ii) Provide a valid unique entity identifier in the application; and
(iii) Continue to maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which they have an active federal award or an application or plan under consideration by a federal awarding agency.

A 1:1 funding match is required.

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Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Submit the application online through

To accommodate applicants’ accessibility requirements, a paper version of the application may be obtained by contacting the OIE at or (202) 482-8001.

For questions concerning this NOFO, you may contact the EDA Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship:
Phone: (202) 482-8001

For technical assistance, phone or email the Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726 or

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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