By Steve McKnight, Acting Director, Advanced Manufacturing and Industrial Decarbonization Offices at EERE
This Tuesday, November 8, we celebrate National STEM Day and the value that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students and professionals bring to our Nation. At the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Manufacturing and Industrial Efficiency Offices, we know how much STEM means to manufacturing. In the manufacturing sector, 12.5 percent of workers come from STEM background and training, nearly double the national average in other sectors (6.2 percent).
Our offices continue to be a vital part of the American manufacturing ecosystem as we work to make the manufacturing sector stronger, more resilient, and more sustainable. Our commitment to technical assistance and workforce development is creating the clean energy workforce of tomorrow with good-paying jobs for Americans across the country.
Within the Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Office (AMMTO), our public-private collaborations across industry, government, and the U.S. National Laboratories are arming the next generation of STEM professionals with the technical expertise and mentorship they need to take on today’s most pressing manufacturing challenges and accelerate competitive, clean energy manufacturing. In fact, our Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Program (LEEP) recently opened applications for its 2022 cohorts. The program helps clean tech entrepreneurs move innovations out of the lab and into the market, while providing them the support they need to deploy their solutions at scale and launch successful energy and manufacturing businesses. To date, the program has provided early-stage funding and entrepreneurial training to 120 startups with promising clean technology ideas who have collectively raised $918 million in follow-on funding and created nearly 1,000 jobs.
At the Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office (IEDO), our education and workforce development programs are laser-focused on helping small- and medium-sized manufacturers boost domestic energy productivity and decarbonize their industrial operations. As our recently released Industrial Decarbonization Roadmap highlights, industry represents 30% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. This means that increased industrial decarbonization is a critical step on our journey to a more sustainable economy and that a passionate, STEM-trained workforce will be instrumental in the efforts to transform these industries.
Through programs like our RAPID Manufacturing Institute’s ChemE Cube competition, we’re inspiring STEM students and professionals to develop breakthrough industrial decarbonization technologies that can make our world more sustainable. Through ChemE Cube, undergraduate chemical engineering students are encouraged to think outside the box – or in this case, within it. The competition allows students to apply chemistry to real-world problems, designing a 1 cubic foot solution using modular chemical process intensification. For this year’s competition, students are finding sustainable and affordable ways to provide fresh drinking water to countries around the world. Teams will present their mini water treatment plants at the annual AIChE student conference on November 14, 2022.
And at DOE, we also hope that STEM students will consider joining us in this fight for a sustainable future. Nearly 40 percent of our federal workforce are in STEM positions. But we still need more clean energy champions to join us. At both AMMTO and IEDO, we’re looking for passionate STEM professionals to expand our teams. Be sure to stay up to date on the opportunities coming soon by visiting our careers page and subscribing to our newsletter. You can also visit the Clean Energy Jobs page to discover clean energy jobs across DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
We also encourage students, teachers, and STEM professionals to learn more about the Department’s STEM-related resources with our STEM Rising program. Your STEM training today can contribute to solving our most important national challenges tomorrow.