NASA’s New Equity Action Plan Looks to Increase Opportunities for HBCUs

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has unveiled its new Equity Action Plan. Among the goals of the plan are to:

  • Increase Integration and Utilization of Contractors and Businesses from Underserved Communities to Expand Equity in NASA’s Procurement Process
  • Enhance Grants and Cooperative Agreements to Advance Opportunities, Access, and Representation for Underserved Communities
  • Leverage Earth Science and Socioeconomic Data to Help Mitigate Environmental Challenges in Underserved Communities

NASA has committed to solicit projects that foster STEM education and participation by underrepresented or underserved students and education organizations. NASA’s Science Mission Directorate plans to develop long-term relationships with new, diverse partners, to better reflect the diversity of the nation, and enable greater participation by underrepresented groups in agency efforts. In additions, NASA selected 11 small business technology program proposals valued at a combined $540,000 – six from historically Black colleges and universities – to receive inaugural research planning grants.

NASA is conducting an internal analysis to (1) identify historically Black colleges and universities and Minority-Serving Institutions and small/minority-owned businesses that are eligible to compete for awards but are not submitting proposals and (2) analyze barriers for those that did not apply or applied but did not receive awards.

NASA administrator Bill Nelson stated that “in response to Executive Order 13985, ‘Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government,’ we are working to recognize and overcome the visible and invisible systemic barriers that hinder equitable, inclusive access – by individuals or communities – to the government programs, resources, and opportunities that make all of NASA’s work possible.”

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