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Auburn University awarded $10M to lead southeastern region in STEM research project for disabled students

Auburn University has been awarded $10 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to lead a regional research effort to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education among disabled students.

The award will be used to conduct research related to enhancing workforce development opportunities for persons with disabilities. The collaborative research effort is a national project aimed at increasing the number of disabled students entering college and completing a degree in a STEM-related field of study.

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) took to social media to applaud Auburn University’s leadership of the national workforce development initiative.

The tweet reads, “NSF has awarded Auburn University $10M to lead the Southeastern region in a collaborative research project to increase the number of disabled students who complete STEM degrees and enter the respective workforce. This is a national initiative, and I am proud to see Auburn at the helm.”

The university currently leads a related in-state effort, Alabama Alliance for Students with Disabilities in STEM (AASD-STEM). The project is in coordination with Tuskegee University, Alabama State University, and Auburn University at Montgomery, Southern Union State Community College, the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, and six school districts in East-Central Alabama: Lee, Chambers, Elmore, Montgomery, Macon, and Tallapoosa County school systems.

The national research initiative comes in the midst of rising workforce demand in STEM-related career fields. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the discipline’s job outlook is expected to grow 8% by the year 2029, with the median annual wage as of 2020 holding at roughly $89,000.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL