[Hybrid] Unpacking the Education, Labor, and Workforce Impact of NSF Engines: America’s Broadest Investment in Regional Innovation Ecosystems


Catalyzed by the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)’s Regional Innovation Engines program is the federal government’s broadest and largest investment in regional innovation in the modern era.

NSF Engines is carrying out Congress’ vision to catalyze new technology and innovation economies in regions of the nation that missed out on the 20th-century boom—expanding opportunities beyond coastal enclaves such as Silicon Valley and Boston, Massachusetts.

Earlier this year, NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanthan and First Lady Jill Biden announced the first two of 10 inaugural NSF Engines awards from Forsyth Technical Community College in North Carolina. An additional 44 developmental awards have been granted all across the nation.

Altogether, the ten NSF Engines all across the nation are now working to catalyze R&D, support economic development, and promote entrepreneurship and workforce development to incubate industries and jobs of the future rooted in advanced and emerging technologies. Over the next decade, these 10 NSF Engines will be eligible to receive upwards of $2 billion, with a goal of stimulating economic growth across a range of sectors. A map of all Engine investments can be found here.

But there are many questions policymakers, industry, community colleges and technical schools, workforce strategists, labor leaders, and universities must navigate carefully to realize the promise of this historic moment:

  • How can federal investments in technological innovation lead to a renewal and rebuilding of the American middle class?
  • How can we ensure that the technology hubs of tomorrow look more like the nation than Silicon Valley does today?
  • How should community colleges and labor unions partner with R&D organizations and research universities around emerging technology job training?
  • What steps can be taken to help federally-funded innovation ecosystems create quality jobs?

Join the Center on Education and Labor at New America’s Initiative on the Future of Work and the Innovation Economy for this event (in-person or virtually) to gain insights into these questions and more. This event will be a widely attended gathering and open to the public. Subscribe to New America’s Future of Work Bulletin and follow on social media at @NewAmerica and #NSFEngines.

Confirmed speakers: