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Ohio STEM Learning Ecosystem Request for Application

RFA Informational Webinar


Q: What is a STEM Learning Ecosystem?

STEM Learning Ecosystems (SLEs) are made up of cross-sector partners from a variety of sectors who come together to work for shared goals and gains around STEM, with focused attention on preparing learners to meet the workforce needs of today and tomorrow. SLEs  typically include partners from K-12, higher education, government, business and industry, philanthropy, out-of-school providers and others. TIES supports new and existing STEM Learning Ecosystems with planning, design, implementation training and sustainability strategies for 110+ STEM Learning Ecosystems globally.


Q: What is STEM SAIL?

TIES, the operator of the STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice, is partnering with the Ohio Department of Education and others, including the New Growth Group, to build stronger understandings of STEM needs in the state and to construct new STEM Ecosystems.The initiative, STEM SAIL: OHIO, is intended to strengthen, accelerate and ignite learning by advancing students’ exposure to and engagement with high quality STEM at all levels.


Q: Who is funding the effort?

STEM SAIL: OHIO is coordinated by TIES and funded by the State of Ohio with ESSER III federal funds.


Q: Who can apply to become a new SLE?

STEM Learning Ecosystems are characterized by cross-sector collaborations of partners. Those communities who are most ready to form a new SLE will be invited to a virtual meeting for further conversation with the STEM SAIL team.


Q: What can the new SLEs expect?

The new STEM Learning Ecosystems will be receiving both technical assistance as well as seed funding to help launch the work.


Q: What will be expected of the new Ecosystems?

Ecosystems are expected to:

  • Attend virtual bi-weekly meetings of the Ohio STEM Learning Ecosystems.
  • Work closely with TIES to design, stand up and operate a STEM Learning Ecosystem, following a series of pre-determined processes and steps that have been established by TIES.
  • Collaborate with at least one other ecosystem on a STEM project to bring to their communities.  
  • Share their work with other STEM Learning Ecosystems and new Ecosystems that will be selected to join the STEM SAIL: Ohio initiative.
  • Compile stories about their work to share with the STEM SAIL: Ohio community. 
  • Reach out to Ohio STEM Learning Network Hub Directors, as well as other regional partners, to identify points of collaboration.
  • Complete quarterly reports about their work and activities.
    • December 31, 2023
    • March 31, 2024
    • June 30, 2024
  • Complete an annual executive summary of work for their first year of existence.
  • Create a sustainability plan for future years. 
  • Participate in STEM SAIL: Ohio meetings, both virtual and in-person, throughout the time period of Nov. 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024.


Q: How many entities can apply?

SLEs are collaborative in nature and we encourage applications coordinated among representatives from K-12, higher education, business and industry, government, out-of-school time providers, philanthropy and others. However, only one application will be accepted per community.


Q: What are the deadlines?

The Request for Applications opens Sept. 1 and the form is posted below. Applications are due by 5 p.m., Sept. 22.


Q: Where can I find more information?

An informational webinar is available for viewing through the STEM SAIL: OHIO site. If you have additional questions, please reach out to and those questions will be uploaded and answered in this FAQ. All questions must be received by Sept. 20 at 5 p.m.


Q: What happens after I apply?

Those communities who are most ready to form a new SLE will be invited to a virtual meeting for further conversation with the STEM SAIL team.


Q: Is it better to apply as a single community, or as a regional approach, which would include surrounding counties?

We believe you will be in the best position to answer this question. If workforce needs are more regional and you believe there will be strong and practical ways of aligning to those with a regional approach, we urge you to consider that route.


Q: I did not see a funding amount, only that seven would be funded. Can you give an idea of what we are applying for?

The exact amount will not be determined until we know how many new STEM Learning Ecosystems will be admitted. We believe that the amount of funding offered to each will be in the vicinity of $30,000 as a one-time payment.


Q: Do we have to have all of our potential partners identified, or can we add partners after we are funded?

It is to your advantage to demonstrate your current strength with existing partnerships, but you may certainly bring on additional partners whenever it makes sense for your STEM Learning Ecosystem.


Q: After the seven are identified, will there be some refinement or a secondary application, or will it be based on the RFA?

There are no current plans for a secondary application and the RFA for the State of Ohio, but any community may apply to be a part of the global STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice.


Q: Does there need to be a lead organization for the Ecosystem or can it be a collaboration?

It can be a collaboration. Our experience leading the STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice has turned up evidence that a single lead organization is often most effective, however.


Q: Is it possible to get more information on the application process?

In addition to the Informational Webinar and FAQs, the full application is available by clicking on the button in the Request for Application form box below. We also invite applicants to learn more about the national STEM Learning Ecosystem Community of Practice at


Q: I was also wondering if there is additional information on the grant plan, could that be shared too?

The funding flows to the newly emerging Ecosystems will be customized to those who are selected, but we believe that the amount of funding offered to each will be in the vicinity of $30,000 as a one-time payment. Please also see the above Q&A: What will be expected of the new Ecosystem?


Q: Will there be additional opportunities to apply to become (or join, if a local entity opts to submit an application) a STEM Learning Ecosystem in the future?

Communities are always welcome to apply to join the national STEM Learning Ecosystem Community of Practice, which you can learn more about here. This RFA is a special opportunity for communities in Ohio to become a STEM Learning Ecosystem, with additional support from the one-time funding to help establish the Ecosystem. Also, established Ecosystems are always welcome to seek new collaborations in their communities.


Q: We were discussing the $30,000 and what exactly could the funds be used for if selected as an Ecosystem? Also, sustaining the Ecosystem; how have those that are established continued their sustainability?

The $30,000 in funding is an estimate and will be varied depending on the needs of each new Ecosystem. The funds will flow before June 2024 to help the Ecosystems institute the main components of Future Forward Ohio and promote innovative evidenced-based approaches to accelerate learning for all students. Sustainability is a high priority and once we work together in designing the Ecosystem, the use of the funding will be clarified.


The Request for Application has closed. Stay tuned for further updates!