Regional Future Workforce (RFW) – Empowering Equity in STEM Pilot Program

Diverse school children students build robotic cars using computers and coding.

Program Overview

Building on the success of the Regional Future Workforce (RFW) pilot program, we invite proposals from non-profits, school boards, and academic institutions to create Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs for summer 2024— focusing on fostering equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) with a special emphasis on underrepresented groups.

The objective is to continue to foster interest and develop STEM skills for the future of the automotive and mobility sector (A&MS). By targeting equity-deserving groups, we aim to remove barriers to entry in the sector and create a more inclusive landscape.

Definition of Underrepresented Groups:

Underrepresented groups include, but are not limited to, women, Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), persons with disabilities, members of visible minority/racialized groups, and members of LGBTQ2+ communities (see the Dimensions charter for more information). 


The goals of OVIN’s Empowering Equity in STEM Program are:

  • To increase exposure to learning and development opportunities relevant to the automotive and mobility sector for underrepresented students (kindergarten to post-secondary) across Ontario
  • To increase the number of equity-deserving and underrepresented groups exploring career opportunities in the automotive and mobility sector
  • To facilitate collaboration across Ontario between non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and the automotive and mobility industry to build a strong talent pipeline

Program Details

The Empowering Equity in STEM Pilot Program will work towards bridging the gap between equity-deserving and underrepresented students (kindergarten to post-secondary) and the future automotive and mobility labour force by providing students with skills, training, and engagement opportunities with the sector through educational summer programs.

Program details:

  • The program will consist of 4 streams: K-Gr 4, Gr 5 to Gr 9, Gr 10 to Gr 12, post-secondary
    • Applicants can apply to one or more streams 
  • Matching requirement: Successful applicants will require at least one dedicated staff to run the program whose salary must be paid wholly by the applicant
  • Industry collaboration: We will encourage successful applicants to partner with at least one industry partner 
  • Program length: Applicants will have a maximum of 2 months to develop and deliver the program (June- August) 
  • Goal: OVIN requires applicants to engage a minimum of 50 students, with at least 30 coming from underrepresented and equity-deserving groups. Please note that programs should be offered to participating students at no costs.

Please note:

  • Preference will be given to applications that engage a higher number of students from underrepresented and equity deserving groups
  • Preference will be given to applications that demonstrate plans to deploy the program to multiple audience segments and multiple regions within Ontario.
  • To ensure we are representative of diverse audiences across the province, OCI will prioritize funding one application per region (as appropriate based on applications received)
  • Preference will be given to applications demonstrating strong partnerships or linkages to industry


  • Eligible applicants include Ontario-based elementary and secondary public schools, school boards, post-secondary institutions, non-profits organizations. 
  • All partners must be Ontario–based 
  • Industry partners must be Ontario-based automotive and mobility industry members, including but not limited to:
    • Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs);
    • Tier 1 suppliers; and/or
    • Relevant industry associations.
  • Industry partners are encouraged to contribute in-kind (expertise and other appropriate resources) towards the program.

Overall partnership requirements are outlined below:

Partnership Requirements School BoardsAcademic InstitutionsNon-Profits Organizations
Collaborate with at least one industry partner to develop programsStrongly Encouraged Strongly Encouraged Strongly Encouraged
Work with at least one post-secondary institution with strong automotive and mobility initiatives to develop programsStrongly Encouraged N/AStrongly Encouraged 
Work with at least one school/school 
board to coordinate student 

**Please note that program funds will only be released to successful lead applicants, and not to their partners.

Matching Contribution

Applications must demonstrate a matching contribution for the duration of the project of at least one full-time employee whose salary is paid wholly by the applicant. This employee must be dedicated to the development and implementation of the program.

Please note:

  1. Matching contributions must be coming directly from the applicant. Funds cannot come from other public funds or be leveraged for other public funds. 
  2. Applicants are responsible for meeting their commitment to the matching contribution. Underspending will result in an equal amount deducted from OCI’s final contribution.

How to Apply

The Empowering Equity in STEM program employs a one-stage application process. The full application package must include your application proposal and any other supporting documents. 

Please complete and submit your proposal by June 1st, 2024.

For more details about this program, please see the Program Guidelines (PDF). 

If you have any questions about the process, please contact Rodayna Abuelwafa, Skills Development Project Lead.

Frequently Asked Questions

Intake Form

Submit this intake form and see if this program is the right fit for your organization!