VP Harris Announces Public/Private Collaborations to Support the Space Workforce
The White House released a formal plan to support the space workforce, along with a coalition of space companies focused on growing the skilled technical workforce.
The Interagency Roadmap to Support Space-Related STEM Education and Workforce was released ahead of the second meeting of the National Space Council during the Biden administration set for Friday afternoon. Vice President Kamala Harris was set to chair the meeting and announce the commitments.
The roadmap, from the National Science and Technology Council of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, has three goals: inspire engagement from educators and learners in space-related STEM; prepare educators, learners, and job seekers for the space workforce; and employ a diverse workforce. It includes specific actions to support each goal.
This is in line with the United States Space Priorities Framework released in December, which named building the STEM workforce as a tenet.
Harris also announced the industry coalition, which will stand up regional pilot programs to build a skilled technical workforce. Pilot programs in Florida’s Space Coast, Louisiana/Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, and Southern California will work with community colleges and unions to build an approach to attract, train, and employ people from backgrounds underrepresented in STEM jobs.
The new coalition’s work will kick off in October 2022 and be anchored by Blue Origin, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman. Other industry partners will include Amazon, Jacobs, L3Harris, Planet Labs PBC, Rocket Lab, Sierra Space, Space X and Virgin Orbit, and will be joined by the Florida Space Coast Consortium Apprenticeship Program and its sponsors, SpaceTEC, Airbus OneWeb Satellites, Vaya Space, and Morf3D. Aerospace Industries Association and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics will also support the coalition.
In addition, the announcement included a number of public and private commitments including a space-focused apprenticeship accelerator from the Department of Labor, with a particular focus on critical manufacturing occupations. The Department of Labor has been instructed to put together this accelerator by the end of 2023.
“The space industry is at an inflection point with expanded growth and scientific breakthroughs that lead us to new understandings of the universe and unlock solutions to challenges experienced on Earth. To thrive, the space ecosystem will require contributions and innovations from those with skills, talents, and passions in traditional STEM areas, as well as other expertise from individuals such as technicians, machinists, communications experts, and finance specialists,” the roadmap says.