DOE and its predecessor organizations have for over sixty-years been committed to training and supporting scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. DOE’s role in workforce development has primarily focused upon the support of undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers through research and development awards at universities and at the DOE national laboratories. Today, that role also includes supporting educational and training programs to promote science and energy literacy. DOE funding has enabled tens of thousands of scientists, engineers, and technicians to tackle scientific questions of the day in physics, chemistry, biology, and other areas of basic science and technology, impacting energy, environment, and national security challenges.
The Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS) program goal is to help ensure that DOE has a sustained pipeline for the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce. To achieve this goal, WDTS sponsors undergraduate internships, faculty appointments, and graduate thesis research; administration of the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship for K–12 STEM teachers for federal agencies; and annual, nationwide, middle- and high-school science competitions culminating in the National Science Bowl® finals in Washington, D.C. These all help to encourage and develop the next generation of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians.
WDTS leverages the expertise of its six Office of Science research program offices and the unique capabilities at DOE’s 17 national laboratories, which employ more than 30,000 individuals with STEM backgrounds, to encourage students and educators to pursue careers that will contribute to the Office of Science’s discoveries. The national laboratory system offers access to leading scientists, world-class scientific user facilities and instrumentation, and large-scale, multidisciplinary research programs unavailable in universities or industry. WDTS sponsors programs providing access to these labs where students can gain valuable firsthand research experience and participate in professional development activities. The DOE laboratories also provide additional opportunities for STEM training and education, annually engaging over 250,000 K-12 students, 22,000 K-12 educators, 4,000 undergraduate interns, 3,000 graduate students, and 1,600 postdoctoral researchers. Learn more about WDTS experience based STEM learning opportunities here.