10 Historically Black Colleges and Universities Awarded for Plans To Develop Clean-Energy-Focused Partnerships

Phase 1 of the HBCU Clean Energy Education Prize Awards $100,000 to HBCUs To Develop Next Generation of Clean Energy Leaders

Feb. 28, 2024 | By Tim Meehan | Contact media relations

A child working with a windmill-like object, a woman embracing someone wearing a cap and gown, a worker in a hard hat and vest standing next to solar panels while holding a tablet.

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the winners of the first phase of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Clean Energy Education Prize Partnerships Track. The Partnerships Track is one of two tracks in the HBCU Clean Energy Education Prize, which is awarding nearly $8 million to winning HBCUs to help prepare the next generation of clean energy leaders.

Not only are the winners being announced during Black History Month, but the HBCU Clean Energy Education Prize also comes at a critical time for the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field. As of 2021, nearly one in four people in the U.S. workforce (24%) were employed in STEM roles. According to the National Science Foundation, only 9% of STEM workers are Black.

The Partnerships Track is tackling this disparity while also helping to meet the demand for a growing clean energy workforce by empowering HBCUs to build partnerships that open the door to new clean energy resources and opportunities for HBCU students.

The Partnerships Track

Starting in August 2023, HBCUs were challenged to create partnerships with government agencies, industry leaders, and other universities aimed at long-term educational program growth and support for undergraduate and graduate students. Together with their partners, HBCUs developed plans for advanced clean energy programming such as graduate certificates, internship programs, research partnerships, and more.

Through these partnerships and new programs, the prize winners can help generate new clean-energy-focused opportunities for HBCU students—both academically and in the workforce—for years to come. The 10 winners of this phase were each awarded $100,000, with a total track award pool of $6.75 million.

"This is a pivotal moment for the clean energy transition," said Terrence Mosley, DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy senior advisor for diversity and STEM. "By kickstarting these partnerships, we're giving more communities a chance to get involved in the clean energy sector and play a role in shaping the future energy landscape."

This track works hand in hand with the Inspire Track, the other track of the HBCU Clean Energy Education Prize, which supports the development of clean-energy-focused academic break programs for K–12 and community college students. Inspire Track Phase 1 winners were announced last October.

Meet the Winners

  • Albany State University: Albany State's "Team-Up on Tackling Crises of Energy and Climate" is a partnership with University of Central Florida and Georgia Tech to promote opportunities for HBCU students in research-intensive labs.
  • Clark Atlanta University: The "CAU AI – Sustainable Climate Innovation Center Hub" is a market enabler to promote clean energy technologies and workforce development.
  • Dillard University: "Awareness to Transformation (A₂T)" is an initiative that will engage internal and external partners to create a new clean energy minor and certification program.
  • Florida A&M University: The "EmpowerEd HBCU Partnership Initiative" is a program fostering clean energy careers through a strategic partnership with South Carolina State University to create hands-on student engagement.
  • Howard University: The "Howard-Drexel Clean Energy Partnership" is a proposed cross-university exchange program with Drexel University that will train students in clean energy.
  • Jackson State University: The "Fostering Student Training in Clean Energy at JSU" program is designed to educate and train Jackson State University students in the clean energy domain through partnerships with other institutes and companies.
  • Morehouse College: MC's "Unifying Energies: The UE Project" is a collaborative effort between six HBCUs that aims to empower students to not only join but also become leaders in the green energy revolution.
  • Southern University and A&M College: Southern's "Energizing Minds through Advanced Clean Energy Education (EMACE)" partnership will create a clean energy program to help students gain certifications via collaborations with academia, labs, industries, and other organizations.
  • Southern University at Shreveport: The "Power Joint Approach to Green Solutions (JAGS)" will work to empower clean energy leaders by creating a pipeline that fosters education, talent, and community.
  • Tennessee State University: Tennessee State's "Clean Energy Academy" will establish industry partnerships to leverage expertise in developing and delivering educational programs.

What Is Next?

Now that the winners have been announced, they will move onto Phase 2 of the prize. For the next five months, the 10 winners will build on the plans they created in Phase 1, focusing on fostering sustainable partnerships, programming, and engagement mechanisms. This phase comes with the potential for up to $400,000 in additional funding per winning team.

The remaining teams will have a chance to receive a third round of funding during Phase 3 of the contest. The final three Partnerships Track winners will be announced in early 2025 and will split a $1.75 million pool. Meanwhile, the final winners of the Inspire Track will be announced this summer.

"It's exciting to be a part of this push to foster equity in the STEM field and bring new ideas into the clean energy space," Mosley said. "We congratulate the winners and look forward to seeing how their plans progress over Phase 2."

Learn more about the HBCU Clean Energy Education Partnerships Track and Inspire Track. Subscribe to the American-Made newsletter for updates on the latest prizes and competitions.

Tags: Partnerships