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Maui Economic Development Board Awarded $300K to Scale-Up STEMworks Program

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The Maui Economic Development Board was named one of seven nationwide winners of the US Department of Commerce’s STEM Talent Challenge.

The board will be awarded $300,000 to scale-up its successful STEMworks program to provide hands-on training for Maui residents in focus areas considered vital to the future of Hawaiʻi’s economy, including renewable energy and artificial intelligence.

Since the STEMworks program began in 2000 as a Maui pilot, it has grown to include every island, involving 29 schools, and more than 40,000 students and teachers annually.

The inaugural STEM Talent Challenge funding opportunity kicked off in August 2020 to further build STEM workforce readiness and spur innovation across the nation.


Awardees include nonprofits, a Native American tribal government, a community college, universities, and entrepreneurship-focused organizations with projects in emerging and transformative sectors such as space commerce, aeronautics, digital manufacturing, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity.

“The Trump Administration is proud to support the seven STEM Talent Challenge grant recipients which are doing tremendous work to prepare America’s workforce for tomorrow and beyond,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “Awardees’ projects will foster the future of work while supporting high-growth, high-wage entrepreneurial ventures, industries of the future, and other innovation-driven businesses.”

“Strong STEM talent fuels innovation and entrepreneurship in regional innovation economies across America,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This grant challenge invests in workers through work-and-learn programs and apprenticeships, and these individuals become the backbone of robust innovative and entrepreneurial economies.”


The awardees, selected from a pool of 80 applicants, will leverage an additional $2.3 million in matching funds from a variety of private and public sector sources.

Grantee: Maui Economic Development Board, Kīhei

EDA Grant: $300,000 
Local Match: $500,000 
Sectors: Renewable energy, artificial intelligence, machine learning, among others 


Project Description: Scale up the successful STEMworks program to provide hands-on training for Maui residents in seven different focus areas. These focus areas are considered vital to the future of Hawaii’s economy and include renewable energy, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and agriculture. 

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