Opportunity number
NSF 23-507
Due date
March 02, 2023 - Pivots & Beginnings Tracks, September 14, 2023 - Explorations
Advanced Manufacturing Community Development Digital Equity Digital Inclusion Economic Development Education Education & Workforce Information Technologies Workforce Development
Project funding
Up to $1M
Program funding
Funding size
$25M or more

Experiential Learning for Emerging and Novel Technologies (ExLENT)

RFP Summary provided by the agency

ExLENT funds career exploration and experiential learning activities such as internships, co-operative programs, service-based learning and research opportunities that:

  • help individuals who historically have not had equal access to STEM careers, including individuals from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds, persons with disabilities, veterans, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
  • create nontraditional educational pathways into emerging technology fields.
  • serve a broad range of learners including secondary school youth, military, veterans, and adults at any stage of career development.

Successful proposals will outline a comprehensive program curriculum that includes:

  • Experiential learning opportunities that provide participants with an enhanced understanding of the emerging technology landscape and training in the STEM entrepreneurial and technical skills that increase their employability.
  • Workplace driven career exploration activities that allow participants varied pathways into, and job opportunities in, emerging technology fields.
  • Mentorship to support participants’ professional development and pursuit of careers in emerging technology fields, providing them with paths beyond the ExLENT program.
  • Establishment of a participant cohort designed to help participants develop a STEM career identity and a sense of community within the emerging technology fields.
  • Intentional support in diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility for all stakeholders to create environments that value diverse perspectives critical for innovation and that promote a competitive, resilient emerging technology workforce.

ExLENT Tracks

This grant provides three tracks to best support the broad range of learners:

  1. Pivots – This track aims to attract individuals not currently enrolled in post-secondary educational programs, and who have acquired useful skills such as time management, communication, and teamwork in non-emerging technology careers. This may include participants who require upskilling to work in emerging technology fields. Proposed projects should provide participants with experiential learning opportunities that build skills and competencies necessary for current professionals to pivot into careers in emerging technology fields.
  2. Beginnings – This track aims to provide individuals possessing some existing STEM competencies (e.g., those with stackable certificates in STEM or those enrolled in associate’s degree programs, etc.) with experiential learning opportunities that deepen knowledge and skills in emerging technology fields. Proposed projects should enable participants to pursue or advance their career in an emerging technology field.
  3. Explorations –  Proposed projects in this track should provide participants with experiential learning opportunities that build interest, motivation, and knowledge in emerging technology fields and identify pathways to careers in these areas. Proposals submitted to this track should focus on a wide range of participants from diverse backgrounds and may include those enrolled in traditional education pathways (e.g., secondary school, college, and/or military). Alternatively, a proposal might focus on participants who are not enrolled in a traditional educational pathway (i.e., self-learners, members of incubators) who are inclined to explore hands-on learning and development opportunities in emerging technology fields.

ExLENT projects should demonstrate an integrative and comprehensive approach that includes the following key features:

  1. Provides pathways into the emerging technology workforce.
  2. Includes individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences, especially individuals from groups historically underrepresented and/or underserved in STEM.
  3. Provides in situ emerging technology-specific, competitively compensated, professional work experiences or emerging technology-specific career exploration for participants.
  4. Where relevant, includes attention to issues of cybersecurity, safety, and/or privacy in considering applications of emerging technologies in professional settings and/or in other experiential learning opportunities.
  5. Involves partnerships between appropriate stakeholders committed to an integrated, collaborative network to best support participants.
  6. Builds community between all those involved in the project by using a cohort model for engaging participants.
  7. Provides both mentoring by peers and mentoring by experienced emerging technology professionals for participants that includes career development planning beyond program participation.
  8. Includes diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) instruction, as appropriate, for the different stakeholders.
  9. Includes a sustainability plan that explains how partners will continue to provide pathways into the emerging technology workforce after the project’s conclusion.
  10. Includes an evaluation plan that examines the extent to which the program delivered on its proposed activities.

Who are the target applicants: cities, universities, companies, small business, nonprofits, or others?


How do you submit to this opportunity?

Apply on grants.gov


Webinar Information

Q&A Webinar – December 12, 2022 from 3:00-4:00 PM ET Technical Webinar – January 10, 2023 from 12:00-1:00 PM ET

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