Recognizing the impact of STEM talent pool on a highly skilled, diverse future DOE workforce, WDTS has been actively listening to the community and seeking opportunities for expanding equitable access, strengthening inclusive mentorship, and encouraging broadening participation of students and educators from all walks of life. During October 2021 through May 2022, in collaboration with DOE national laboratories, WDTS organized over a dozen listening sessions with individuals and institutions from underrepresented and underserved communities in STEM education and research. The objectives were to understand the barriers for participating in current programs, solicit ideas to address the barriers, and to develop intentionality driven strategies to connect individuals and institutions with Office of Science (SC)’s research, STEM training, and career opportunities. Informed by the community’s inputs, WDTS has identified “pathways” as a development opportunity to further its workforce development mission and contribute to the Reaching a New Energy Sciences Workforce (RENEW) initiative starting FY 2022. WDTS has a unique role to play by significantly expanding SC reach to students and educators at all levels, especially those from underrepresented and underserved communities in STEM, and building creative pathways to better prepare them for STEM learning and career based on rigorous evaluation and assessment.

WDTS RENEW Pathway Summer Schools (PSSs) for Students
The program creates innovative pathways for students with the goal of diversifying a STEM talent pool with a focus on building science identify, enhancing STEM efficacy, and sense of belonging. The PSSs intentionally engage early and establish continuous connection through multiple touch points with high school students, recent high school graduates, and lower-division undergraduate students, especially those from underrepresented and underserved communities, for better STEM learning and entries to STEM careers later. In FY 2023, in collaboration with DOE national laboratories, WDTS established the first cohort.

WDTS RENEW Pathways for Educators
WDTS expanded Visiting Faculty research collaboration opportunities with DOE national laboratories for enhancing research capacity and innovating STEM teaching and learning for faculty members from higher education institutions underrepresented in research and STEM (including all HBCUs). WDTS is exploring more opportunities for STEM educators to stimulate interest in STEM subject areas and enhance STEM learning to support DOE mission.

Evaluation for SC-RENEW
Through the SC-RENEW initiative, WDTS coordinates with SC research programs, DOE national laboratories, and Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) on the evaluation of SC-RENEW investment.