The third component of the national quantum strategy is enabling people by building the necessary talent pathways and ensuring that quantum information science creates new opportunities for all Americans. In fact, National Quantum Initiative Act charges agencies to “invest in activities to develop a quantum information science and technology workforce pipeline” and legislates that the National Quantum Coordination Office engage in public outreach.
The strategy for creating a quantum-smart workforce is detailed in the 2022 report, Quantum Information Science and Technology (QIST) Workforce Development National Strategic Plan, and it includes four critical actions:
- Develop and maintain an understanding of the workforce needs in the QIST ecosystem, with both short-term and long-term perspectives.
- Introduce broader audiences to QIST through public outreach and educational materials.
- Address QIST-specific gaps in professional education and training opportunities.
- Make careers in QIST and related fields more accessible and equitable.
For a list of activities that Federal agencies have engaged in or funded in order to create a quantum-smart workforce for tomorrow, see the subpage on Federal Workforce Activities in QIS and the accompanying factsheet.
Q-12 Education Partnership
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation are spearheading a partnership between the Federal government, industry, professional societies and the education community that will foster a range of training opportunities to increase the capabilities, diversity and number of students who are ready to engage in the quantum workforce. This starts with outreach and education in middle school and high school, introducing quantum technologies and science to inspire the next generation and continues by broadening access to learning materials and quantum-related curricula beyond university labs and classrooms, to community colleges and online courses.
This partnership enables a foundation for classroom and curricula materials, developed in concert with key stakeholders from the quantum information science community. It encourages hands-on experiences with quantum tools in the classroom and through online venues and connecting students to public and private quantum career opportunities via internships, externships and other pathways.
Accordingly, the National Q-12 Education Partnership, where Q-12 is a play on quantum and K-12, commits over the next decade to work with America’s educators to ensure a strong quantum learning environment, from providing classroom tools for hands-on experiences to developing educational materials, to supporting pathways to quantum careers. By expanding access to materials and quantum technologies through this partnership, educators in classrooms and other settings will be able to develop programs, courses, and activities to introduce students to the field and open up opportunities for quantum careers. Together, we can prepare America’s next generation workforce with the tools to succeed in the industries of the future.
On October 7, 2020, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) National Quantum Coordination Office (NQCO) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) hosted the inaugural meeting of the National Q-12 Education Partnership, a public-private initiative working to inspire the next generation of leaders in quantum information science (QIS).
The meeting, co-organized with the NSF-funded Q2Work program, brought together over 170 stakeholders from across academia, early education, industry, the federal government, and non-profit organizations to discuss opportunities to increase public engagement and facilitate an expansion of QIS education at the K-12 level. The partnership prioritizes development of high-quality, age-appropriate QIS educational materials and increased learning and training opportunities for students and educators of all backgrounds.
Key takeaways from breakout discussions included:
- Increasing Access to High-Quality QIS Educational Materials
- Raising Awareness of QIS-Related Career Paths to Pre-College Students
- Making QIS-Concepts More Accessible to a Broad, Non-Scientific Audience
- Engaging with Teachers and Educators in Developing Educational Materials and Curricula
Please see the summary of the kick-off event for more details.
Quantum Workforce: Q-12 Actions for Community Growth Event
On February 1, 2022, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s (OSTP) National Quantum Coordination Office (NQCO) and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) – in coordination with the National Q-12 Education Partnership – convened over 200 stakeholders across academia, early education, industry, the federal government, and non-profit-organizations to explore training and education opportunities for America’s future Quantum Information Science and Technology (QIST) workforce. Furthering a national strategy to ensure the United States remains an international QIST leader, the event focused on ways to engage young minds in QIST and established tools to help improve early (K-12) education and outreach.
Key takeaways from breakout discussions included:
- Increasing Awareness of Careers in QIS to Students, Teachers, Counselors, and Parents
- Create Readily Accessible Quantum Educational Material
- Development and Curation of Formal Educational Materials
- Increase Engagement in and Awareness of Quantum Science
- Developing Standards and Policies to Support Quantum Education at the K-12 Level
- Expanding Paths into QIS and Addressing Retention
WORLD QUANTUM DAY
#WorldQuantumDay is an international, community-driven event to build interest and generate enthusiasm for quantum mechanics. The celebration will take place every year on April 14 with events across the globe. The National Quantum Coordination Office and various Federal agencies are pleased to engage in World Quantum Day. Our 2022 activities are summarized in a whitehouse.gov blog post, and our 2023 activities are available on our dedicated World Quantum Day page.
QUANTUM IMAGE GALLERY
Federal agencies have collected some quantum images from their funded research. They may be freely reused with appropriate citations. The gallery can be viewed here.
Quantum Recruitment in the Federal Government
On August 30, 2021, the Laboratory for Physical Sciences (LPS) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) held a virtual workshop on the recruitment of individuals with quantum information science (QIS) expertise into government service.
The workshop focused on challenges and best practices for recruiting and retaining the talent needed to ensure the Federal Government has ample awareness of and expertise in QIS challenges and opportunities. Approximately forty individuals from a variety of Federal agencies, industry, academia, federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs), and university affiliated research centers (UARCs) participated in the workshop.
The workshop identified three common barriers to government recruitment and retention in QIS:
- Compensation. Industrial salaries in QIS are higher than corresponding government salaries, affecting both recruitment and retention.
- Delays. Slow hiring process in government can result in candidates taking other opportunities.
- Lack of Awareness. Misconceptions about government work keep people from considering government careers.
See the workshop summary for highlights focused on each issue, best practices, and potential paths forward.
The United States is a founding member of the Entanglement Exchange, a portal for highlighting international exchange opportunities for students, postdocs, and researchers in quantum information science. More information is available in a quantum.gov press release.
The Entanglement Exchange links to pages hosted by several countries, with each page containing information to help individuals looking for international research experiences, both inward and outward, to or from the respective quantum ecosystems. The United States page is available here.