Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday said leading aerospace and space-tourism companies have agreed to join the White House in promoting STEM education and career opportunities in the growing space sector.
Convening the National Space Council, Ms. Harris said the public-private partnership will kick off in October 2022 and launch three pilot programs on Florida’s Space Coast, southern California and the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi.
The companies will work with community colleges, unions and others to create a “replicable and scalable approach to attracting, training and creating employment opportunities, particularly for people from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in STEM jobs,” the White House said in a fact sheet.
STEM is an acronym for “science, technology, engineering, and mathematics” skills that are in high demand.
Ms. Harris said the program will 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.
The partnership will involve Florida Space Coast Consortium Apprenticeship Program and its sponsors, SpaceTEC, Airbus OneWeb Satellites, Vaya Space, and Morf3D.
The federal government is launching and funding a series of programs aimed at promoting space education and workforce development, including the Smithsonian Institute’s “Your Place in Space” website with resources for K-12 teachers; $1.25 million to support NASA’s involvement in 21st Century Community Learning Centers that provide instruction after school hours in underprivileged areas; and a World Space Week in which the Defense Department will showcase careers in space from Oct. 4 to 12.
Nickelodeon’s Noggin platform will play a collection of animated and live-action videos during World Space Week, and the White House is supporting education opportunities and awards related to space careers, especially among women, the White House said.