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The National Science Foundation’s director, France Cordova, worked on the STEM training partnership with Heidi Capozzi, senior vice president of human resources at Boeing. (NSF Photo)

The National Science Foundation and Boeing say they’ve forged a $21 million partnership to accelerate skill development and increase diversity in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, known collectively as STEM.

Supported by $10 million in funding from Boeing, NSF will team up with learning institutions to develop online training in critical skill areas for students and Boeing employees.

The skill areas being targeted include model-based engineering and systems engineering, mechatronics, robotics, data science and sensor analytics, program management and artificial intelligence. Boeing and NSF expect the first project to launch in 2019.

To complement that part of the program, NSF’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources will invest $10 million in awards focused on skill development and training for America’s STEM workforce.

Boeing also will contribute $1 million to the NSF INCLUDES initiative, which aims to boost U.S. innovation by broadening participation in STEM fields. INCLUDES stands for “Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science.”

The donation will be used to increase the number of women in STEM and address the needs of women and veterans returning to the STEM workforce. This makes Boeing the first business to contribute to NSF INCLUDES at a national level.

“This investment demonstrates Boeing‘s commitment to developing the future workforce and our current employees’ skills,” Heidi Capozzi, senior vice president of human resources at Boeing, said today in a news release. “The initiatives will help develop more technical workers and provide research opportunities for women and veterans seeking to join or return to the STEM workforce.”

NSF Director France Cordova said she was grateful for Boeing’s help.  “These kinds of public-private partnerships can lead to a more technically proficient workforce with the skills needed to expand our national research and development base,” Cordova said.

Boeing’s contributions count toward fulfilling the company’s pledge to invest $300 million in employees, infrastructure and local communities in the wake of last year’s tax cut.

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