Selection Process

The Excellence and Equity in Community College STEM Award aims to highlight the exceptional community college programs that prepare diverse students for jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math  fields. Only 20 percent of all community colleges are invited to apply. A brief overview of eligibility criteria and the award selection process is detailed below.
1. Eligibility
Institutions among the top 150 institutions eligible for the Aspen Prize because of their student success outcomes are also eligible to submit a program for consideration for the Excellence and Equity in Community College STEM Award.

In addition, institutions that place within the top half of the Aspen Prize performance metrics and have also achieved above average outcomes on the Aspen Prize’s equity measures—including graduation rates for Pell grant recipients, graduation rates for underrepresented students of color, and credentials awarded per 100 full-time equivalent students of color—may submit a program for the Excellence and Equity in Community College STEM Award.

The list of eligible institutions will be announced in 2021.

For further questions about application eligibility, please email Ben Barrett at
2. Application
Presidents and vice presidents of workforce/CTE at all institutions on the eligibility list will receive an email with application instructions.

Colleges are responsible for determining which programs to submit for consideration. Eligible institutions may submit up to two programs in the following industry focus areas: advanced manufacturing, energy, healthcare, and information technology.

Applications include several narrative questions about program goals, design, outreach practices, partnerships, student support resources, and teaching and learning approaches. The application also requires a short data section. Only programs from eligible institutions may access the application. 
3. Program Selection and Scholar Selection
Each application is read by at least two individuals from a selection committee of community college and workforce education experts. Selection committee members score each application using a common rubric, which takes into consideration each program/institution’s socioeconomic context, geography, and industry or field.

The Aspen team then conducts phone calls with program leadership from the top five to ten applications from each industry focus area. These follow-up calls allow the Aspen team to learn more about finalists’ practices and to address any questions submitted by selection committee members.

The selection committee convenes to discuss all finalist programs and to choose the winning programs. Each winning program receives a prize of $50,000. Half of this amount is allocated for further program development, and the other half is allocated for student scholarships (Siemens Technical Scholars).

After winning programs are announced, the Aspen team works with awarded program leaders to select Siemens Technical Scholars from within their respective programs.
4. Research and Elevation
Winning programs and their Siemens Technical Scholars may work further with Aspen in the development of presentations, publications, and tools to advance effective practices.
The Excellence and Equity in Community College STEM Award is made possible by generous support from the Siemens Foundation.
Contact us for more information.
Tess Henthorne, Senior Program Manager