WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA has launched a new website, MissionSTEM.nasa.gov, devoted to broadening the reach of its civil rights technical assistance program. The goal of the site is to increase communication between NASA, its grantee institutions and other stakeholders on civil rights compliance, equal opportunity and diversity in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs funded by NASA.
NASA awarded approximately $1.2 billion this year in the form of grants and cooperative agreements to more than 600 recipients including universities, colleges, science centers and museums, research centers, school districts and health facilities. The grants are intended to expand and improve NASA's research and technological capabilities, stimulate innovation and build the skills of future science and technology leaders. NASA grants also provide opportunities for all Americans to understand and participate in NASA's exciting mission by supporting and enhancing STEM public outreach and informal education efforts.
Federal law and NASA regulations require grant recipients to ensure funding received from the agency is used in a nondiscriminatory manner. They must give equal opportunities to the beneficiaries of the funding regardless of race, national origin, gender, disability or age. In the university setting, beneficiaries include undergraduate and graduate students. In a science museum setting, beneficiaries include members of the public who patronize the museum.
NASA's Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity (ODEO) oversees the compliance of agency grant recipients with federal equal opportunity laws and agency regulations. ODEO provides assistance to grantees in meeting their compliance obligations in a number of ways, including conducting program reviews and disseminating information on how to conduct compliance self-evaluations.
MissionSTEM will broaden and enhance ODEO's compliance efforts by providing a platform for the sharing of compliance requirements, promising practices, video content, virtual panel discussions and information for students.
The MissionSTEM site also will be the centerpiece of NASA's civil rights technical assistance efforts. The site will leverage the scientific and technical expertise of NASA leaders, compliance officials and professional organizations. It will be updated continually to help NASA grant recipients pursue innovative ways to increase access to and interest in STEM fields. It also is a valuable resource for students and members of the public interested in space science, technology and exploration.
For addition information on MissionSTEM, visit: http://missionstem.nasa.gov
For more information about NASA's Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, visit: http://odeo.hq.nasa.gov