US Announces Space-Companies Coalition to Prepare Skilled Tech Workforce for Space Jobs – Slashdot

America’s Department of Agriculture and NASA recently announced the Artemis Moon Trees Program. After the first launch of its SLS super-heavy-lift launch vehicle, “the seeds carried on Artemis I will be grown into seedlings by the Forest Service and distributed to locations across the U.S.”

But it’s just part of a larger initiative. The U.S. government announced Friday that it’s working with “a new coalition of space companies that will focus on increasing the space industry’s capacity to meet the rising demand for the skilled technical workforce” — partly by inspiring and educating the next generation. This coalition includes Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Blue Origin, Jacobs, L3Harris, Planet Labs PBC, Rocket Lab, Sierra Space, Space X and Virgin Orbit.

Long-time Slashdot reader theodp writes:

Yesterday at the second convening of America’s National Space Council, Vice President Kamala Harris announced “new commitments from the U.S. government, private sector companies, education and training providers, and philanthropic organizations to support space-related STEM initiatives to inspire, prepare, and employ the next generation of the space workforce…” according to a statement from the White House, “to address the challenges of today and prepare for the discoveries of tomorrow….”

Among those anchoring the Administration’s efforts to increase the space industry’s capacity to meet the rising demand for the skilled technical workforce is Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ space tourism company Blue Origin, which will be joined by industry partner Amazon to inspire youth to pursue space STEM careers. “Blue Origin’s Club for the Future,” the White House explains, “is launching Space Days to engage millions of students, teachers and school administrators in the excitement of space and space careers.” Club for the Future, as reported earlier on Slashdot, is the Blue Origin founded-and-funded tax-exempt foundation that received the $28 million proceeds of a single auctioned ticket to accompany Bezos on Blue Origin’s maiden 11-minute space tourism flight in June 2021. The nonprofit’s mission is “to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and to help invent the future of life in space.”

The White House also announced that Amazon and Bezos-funded nonprofit “will highlight connections between computer science and space exploration in the 2022 Hour of Code. Students will have the opportunity to explore and develop coding skills through engaging, space-themed tutorials and create shareable projects. Through a collaboration with NASA, the U.S. Space Force, America’s Department of Energy, and the U.S. Geological Survey, students will also learn about different careers and pathways for space careers in these agencies. reaches approximately 15 million students annually.” Amazon reported in 2018 on its efforts to accelerate K-12 CS education in the U.S. with to “support the much-needed pipeline for workers who are well versed in computer science.”
The coalition’s other efforts include three pilot programs collaborating with community colleges, unions and others “to demonstrate a replicable and scalable approach to attracting, training and creating employment opportunities.” Federal agencies and the Smithsonian Institute also launched a new web site with free space-related resources for K-12 educators which also promotes career awareness.

And NASA also released an educator resources hub that includes a LEGO Build to Launch Series — plus $4 million in educational grants.

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