US looks to quantum-ready workers

US looks to quantum-ready workers

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

The US government is releasing a national strategy to develop quantum skills with funding for schemes.

The ‘National Strategic Plan for Quantum Information Science and Technology (QIST) Workforce Development’ recommends a series of actions and community opportunities to grow the QIST workforce through expanded training and education at all levels.

The plan was developed by the National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee on Quantum Information Science (SCQIS) and also highlights the continued importance of gathering data on the workforce needs in industry, academia, and the federal government to strengthen the pool of quantum-ready workers.

Like many western countries, the US is struggling to recruit for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers and sees quantum as an additional challenge.

As a result the National Science Foundation (NSF) is looking for proposals for the Expanding Capacity in Quantum Information Science and Engineering (ExpandQISE) program to launch QISE research and education activities for students at all levels and from all backgrounds.

This will provide grants up to $5 million over five years to expand quantum engagement to new institutions, with a particular focus on those where more than half of students are from groups under-represented in the sciences.

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The NSF is also providing a $2.2 million grant to the Montana-Arkansas (MonArk) NSF Quantum Foundry, led by Montana State University and the University of Arkansas, to create the Arkansas-Montana-South Dakota 2D Quantum Photonics Alliance (2DQP Alliance). The alliance extends the foundry to the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, an historically Black university to expand quantum career-path opportunities.

“Our future prosperity depends on expanding the capacity of our Nation to inspire, educate, train, and empower the next generation of talent,” said National Quantum Coordination Office Director  and Assistant Director for Quantum Information Science (QIS) Dr. Charles Tahan at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s (OSTP). “The career opportunities in quantum and related fields are immense, and we are thrilled to work with NSF, industry, and educational institutions in the National Quantum Initiative and Q-12 Partnership to reach more young people.”

“To accelerate growth in quantum science and engineering, we must continue to institutionalize and scale efforts that create a culture of creativity and inclusivity, one that empowers people from all backgrounds and disciplines to pursue quantum careers,” said  Sethuraman Panchanathan, director of the National Science Foundation.

“The Q12 Partnership has charted a path forward for nurturing quantum expertise from across the United States, and today, that path advances from exploration to rapid action. Alongside today’s release of the National Strategic Plan for QIST Workforce Development, NSF is announcing a new program, ExpandQISE, to provide sustained support for researchers developing new ways to cultivate and diversify the U.S. quantum workforce.”

In the coming months, the SCQIS will hold further discussions on increasing participation by people from underrepresented backgrounds in STEM, starting with a look at short-term professional development for the quantum workforce. This is a critical piece of the quantum strategy to continue addressing a growing need for domestic talent.;

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