USAID seeks contractor input on new STEM fellowship program
The U.S. Agency for International Development is aiming to launch a new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fellowship program to help build more pathways for skilled talent to enter the federal workforce.
The U.S. Agency for International Development is aiming to develop new professional Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fellowships and wants input from federal contractors and other stakeholders for “novel ideas” to possibly help launch them.
According to a request for information originally released Jan. 17 and updated on Monday, USAID is planning to announce an up to five-year contract award for a new professional STEM fellowships program in late summer 2023, with the agency hosting the first set of fellows some time next year. The RFI seeks input on how potential contractors may structure a fellowship program "to attract individuals with appropriate scientific and technical expertise" to serve in the agency.
Some reports indicate the U.S. lags behind adversaries like Russia and China in STEM education, resulting in a shortage of skilled labor in the workforce. The Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2020 Industrial Capabilities report warned about a severe shortage in technical talent and noted that “today’s education pipeline is not providing the necessary software engineering resources to fully meet the demand from commercial and defense sectors.”
The RFI requested additional information on how contractors can tailor their programs to better equip fellows with the skills to successfully work within USAID, and how the agency can expand the scope of its interested applicants, including those who may not be aware of the agency or its mission.
The fellows will work in various units across USAID based on their areas of expertise and agency needs, while the contractor that wins the award will oversee the fellowship program, from the advertising and selection of candidates to the placement of fellows across USAID and providing staffing solutions like payroll and benefits.
Officials from the agency's Innovation, Technology,and Research Hub, which released the RFI, said they were not yet seeking cost proposals or applications but that the fellowship programming could touch on STEM components like natural sciences, life sciences, social sciences, applied sciences and more.
Respondents must submit comments to USAID by 3 p.m. EST on Feb. 3.