Remarks of Dr. Alondra Nelson at the September 2022 National Space Council Meeting
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery at the Johnson Space Center
Thank you, Madam Vice President.
We at the Office of Science and Technology Policy are working every day to advance science and technology for equity, and equity in science and technology.
This is an exciting time to be working in the realm of science and technology. The CHIPS and Science Act has launched historic investments in our STEM ecosystem — investments that will transform science and technology in the United States now, and long into the future.
OSTP will leverage the CHIPS and Science Act to build on your Space Council’s priorities for human space exploration, commercial space activities, and STEM.
For human space exploration, OSTP have been coordinating a whole-of-government microgravity strategy to build enduring research and development platforms in space.
On space commercialization and governance, OSTP recently completed the National Orbital Debris Implementation Plan, to help mitigate, track, and remediate space debris, positioning the United States as a leader in space sustainability and the responsible use of space.
We have also produced a national strategy for in-space servicing, assembly, and manufacturing (or ISAM). We’re working to ensure that the United States leads in manufacturing, refueling, and on-orbit servicing in different orbits, on the moon, on Mars, and beyond.
All of these efforts require that we include as many minds as possible in building the STEM workforce of the future.
Since this Council last convened, OSTP led an interagency Space STEM Task Force, which, today, is releasing its Roadmap to Support Space-Related STEM Education and Workforce — a report that lays out our vision for growing, diversifying, and strengthening the space workforce.
This Roadmap details immediate and long-term actions that agencies have committed to pursue, guided by diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.
These actions span three focus areas:
First: Inspire. We will use space as a lens to spark curiosity and cultivate interest in space-related STEM fields, targeting outreach to communities and regions that have historically been under-engaged.
To do this, agencies have created an online repository of free educator resources and career highlights to show the diversity of people who work in exciting STEM jobs throughout the government.
Second: Prepare. We will engage students in hands-on activities and experiential learning opportunities like paid internships, apprenticeships, and fellowships, to ensure that more people have the skills, training, and access they need to effectively pursue space-related STEM jobs.
Third: Employ. As we know, there are real challenges that people encounter when they enter the space workforce. We will create new professional development programs and funding opportunities, and we will incentivize pathways to leadership across the federal space workforce.
Under your leadership, Madam Vice President, this is the first time in this Administration that the National Space Council and Federal departments and agencies have come together to prioritize building and strengthening the space workforce.
This whole-of-society strategy is a call to action for industry, government, educators, and everyone who works in STEM to build a STEM workforce for space that is open and accessible to everyone.
As we approach research, policy, and action in space, it’s on us to ensure that we are employing the United States’ most valuable asset: its people,
to solve the great challenges of our time: tackling the climate crisis, bolstering national security, growing our economy, and uncovering the mysteries of space.
Now, I’ll pass it back to you, Madam Vice President.
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