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A need to build and expand the nation’s innovation-based manufacturing workforce capability and capacity has been clearly established through national STEM workforce analyses, including the 2018 Deloitte Skills Gap and Future Workforce in Manufacturing Study, which was updated in 2021 in the report titled “Creating Pathways for Tomorrow’s Workforce Today”. This analysis estimates that the nation will see 2.1 million manufacturing positions go unfilled by 2023 at a cost of $1 trillion by 2030 unless the U.S. steps up to this pivotal supply-side challenge.

This situation is partially due to the fact that only 20% of graduating high school seniors are ready for the rigors of STEM occupations, leaving manufacturers and other advanced technology companies forgoing investment in advanced manufacturing tools and/or offshoring manufacturing jobs. The United States is expected to lose $1 trillion in economic output due to the skills gap in 2030 alone.

Focusing solely on education at the high school, vocational, and college/university levels to rebuild this critical workforce is not enough to sufficiently address the 2.4 million unfilled STEM positions, especially given that the number of students graduating high school is projected to shrink beginning in 2025. The Nation needs to tap into new sources of potential STEM talent via a strategic focus on under-represented communities at the post-high school level.

An additional level of complexity to addressing this skills gap is the speed at which technology evolves, quickly rendering technical skills obsolete. STEM workers focused on advanced technologies and manufacturing practices must be able to upskill quickly to keep pace with technological change. This Special Call will support various projects that will assist in building a technical workforce that can adapt to the exponential growth in technology and support industry in embracing advanced manufacturing technologies.

You can read the full Request for Proposals here.

Proposals: It is imperative that proposals define tasks and deliverables that are tangible, measurable, and demonstrable. The specifications of each task and deliverable must be clearly defined. The project should detail tasks, deliverables, and the project schedule, and should include quarterly and final reports, and the Cost Proposal should be created using the provided template. Ensure all instructional design service costs, travel, and other direct costs are included in the Cost Proposal.

Submission: The proposer shall submit one (1) electronic copy of its Detailed Research Plan (DRP) with Cost Proposal to

Important Dates

Questions may be addressed to Taylor McLeod at