Funding, Grants & Awards

FIRST Grants to Increase Access to Quality STEM Experiences

To address inequalities in STEM education, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is launching a new grant program for students who are typically underrepresented and underserved in STEM. The 2017 FIRST STEM Equity Community Innovation Grant is designed to help ensure underrepresented students and their communities have access to “creative problem-solving and hands-on learning” and that they are educated about future career opportunities available to them.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that STEM jobs will double the rate of other fields, but approximately 1.2 million positions will be unfilled due to a lack of applicable training. To combat this, FIRST will provide funding (grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000), technical training and program implementation support for up to 15 communities in the United States and Canada.

“As demographics shift and our population grows more diverse, creating equity is more important than ever. Persistent gaps in health, employment, education and opportunity prevent certain populations from realizing their full potential,” said Shelley Henderson, diversity and inclusion manager at FIRST, in a statement. “Through this grant and other strategic initiatives at FIRST, it is our goal to address this. We want to provide access to our life-changing STEM programs to as many students as possible while supporting communities and the people they serve in pursuit of equity.”

The grant program begins disbursing funds in July 2017 and ends on June 30, 2018. To apply, visit the FIRST site.

About the Author

Sri Ravipati is Web producer for THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at

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