Diversifying The STEM Workforce

2017-11-30T15:26:14+00:00 November 20, 2017|
(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

What It Was

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held a markup on four science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) bills (STEM Research and Education Effectiveness and Transparency Act (H.R. 4375), Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act (H.R. 4323), Women in Aerospace Education Act (H.R. 4254), and Building Blocks of STEM Act (H.R. 3397)) and on three bills promoting research at the Department of Energy (Department of Energy Research Infrastructure Act of 2017 (H.R. 4376), Accelerating American Leadership in Science Act of 2017 (H.R. 4377), and Nuclear Energy Research Infrastructure Act of 2017 (H.R. 4378)). All seven bills passed out of committee by voice vote.

Why It Matters

STEM fields are integrated into every aspect of our lives. The cars we drive, the phones we use, the medicine we take, and the food we eat are the result of research and innovation from STEM investments. Ensuring a robust workforce in these areas is critical to the economy, environment, health, safety, and well-being of Americans.

Key Points

Republicans and Democrats expressed unanimous support for all seven bills during the committee markup. There was bipartisan agreement on the need for federal investment in research and technology to maintain our role as a global leader in science, to advance innovation, and to ensure national security.

Members affirmed the need to educate and train the next workforce by passing the four STEM bills out of committee; all affect activities of the National Science Foundation (NSF). They direct the agency to: investigate and report findings on effectiveness of outreach targeting women and minority participation in science and technology fields and collect and report more data on federal research grant applications (H.R. 4375), develop outreach that promotes veteran involvement in STEM careers (H.R.4323), strengthen opportunities for women in aerospace through fellowships and internships (H.R. 4254), and encourage early childhood education efforts (H.R. 3397).

The three energy bills focused on renovations to infrastructure at the Department of Energy’s national laboratories (including advanced light source (H.R. 4376) and advanced photon source (H.R. 4377)) and investment in nuclear energy advancements (H.R. 4378). Bipartisan committee members stressed the need for cutting edge technology to secure America as a science leader, emphasized cost savings of upgrades over newly built labs, and underscored the value of the federal government investing in national labs.

Quotable

“STEM education and career development is the key to enhancing the workforce of today – and tomorrow – and to ensuring U.S. leadership in technology and innovation.” – Chairman Lamar Smith (TX-21)

“To better understand the barriers faced by women and underrepresented minority groups in STEM, researchers and policy-makers need access to better data on what really works to improve the recruitment and retention of women and minorities in STEM studies and careers.” – Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30)

 “H.R. 4376 reaffirms the federal government’s key role in basic research. It’s our job in Congress to make sure these facilities stay at the cutting edge of science and keep the next generation of scientists and inventors here in the United States.” – Vice Chairman Stephen Knight (CA-25)

Next Steps

All seven bills now await scheduling on the House floor.

Find Out More

Watch the full hearing

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