The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management’s fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget request includes $56 million to expand its Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program (MSIPP).
That funding request reflects EM’s strong commitment to advancing the nuclear cleanup mission by maintaining a well-trained, technically skilled and diverse workforce in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. EM received $56 million for the MSIPP in the FY 2022 budget, which built on the $6 million requested and provided in FY 2021.
"I am very proud of the EM Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program,” said Nicole Nelson-Jean, EM’s associate principal deputy assistant secretary for field operations. “It is crucial for the EM program to have an experienced, educated and diverse workforce. Innovation can come from diverse perspectives and different backgrounds that recognize different needs and solutions. The MSIPP is a tool to help foster innovation to help meet the needs of the EM mission.”
Created in 2014, EM’s MSIPP originally included internships, competitive research awards, a post-doctoral research program and the Savannah River Environmental Sciences Field Station.
Last month, EM expanded the consortium’s program, adding a technology curriculum and professional development program, graduate fellowship program, and an EM/Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) shared interest research partnership.
DOE’s Argonne, Idaho, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Pacific Northwest, and Savannah River national laboratories participate in EM’s MSIPP.
EM has a workforce of about 33,000 federal and contractor employees. A significant portion of that workforce is eligible, or will soon be eligible, for retirement. An infusion of new professionals in a variety of fields is needed to sustain and build the workforce, enabling EM to continue achieving key cleanup goals. MSIPP helps EM grow the next generation workforce by engaging the nation’s roughly 700 MSIs and their students.
A robust MSIPP is in the best interest of the U.S. More undergraduate STEM students are enrolled at four-year MSIs than at four-year non-MSIs, and the MSIs produce one-fifth of the nation’s STEM bachelor’s degrees. EM’s MSIPP recognizes the need to build on the national laboratories’ success in diversity, inclusion and equality, and expand a pipeline of future national laboratory scientists.
“The pace of innovation is accelerating globally, and with it the competition for scientific and technical talent. Minority representation in critical science and engineering fields has been and will be an important part of EM’s vision for its future workforce,” said Mary Kruger, EM deputy assistant secretary for resource management.
More than 100 research contracts involving more than 450 students in research projects have been granted under the program since 2014.
The FY 2023 budget request will strengthen the resources necessary to hire graduates into permanent positions at one of the six participating laboratories or within the EM complex.
Click here for information on EM’s Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program.
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