WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) recently introduced the Strengthening STEM Ecosystems Act, legislation to boost STEM workforce and job training.
The bill would establish a grant program within the National Science Foundation to provide funding to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) ecosystems and their partners to better connect communities, share knowledge and create pathways for students to enter STEM careers.
With jobs in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields expected to grow dramatically in the next decade, this bill will support existing initiatives and ensure STEM organizations are involved in workforce development, education and economic planning by promoting the exchange of knowledge and better connecting communities to their STEM partners.
“Expanding STEM education opportunities is critical to bolstering America’s long-term competitiveness on the global stage,” said Sen. Moran. “STEM ecosystems are effective at bringing together nonprofits, schools districts, businesses, museums, universities, and more to accomplish just that. I have been a longtime supporter of STEM education and am pleased to introduce this bill with Sen. Kelly to support new and existing STEM ecosystems and their efforts to better reach rural America.”
“Our legislation creates paths for Arizonans to develop skills in STEM in and out of the classroom by supporting local initiatives that help students get the experience and training needed for jobs in growing technology fields,” said Sen. Kelly. “Strong skills in science and technology are critical to preparing Arizonans for the many high-paying jobs of the future and ensuring that the United States maintains its competitive edge on the global stage.”
See additional statements of support for Sens. Moran and Kelly’s legislation below:
“By aligning in-school STEM curriculum with local industry experts working in STEM fields, students in communities with thriving STEM learning ecosystems can build social capital, get an inside look at future employment and internship opportunities and receive direct feedback on project work from STEM professionals,” said Martha McCabe, Executive Director, KC STEM Alliance. “At the KC STEM Alliance, we are excited about the possibilities for expansion of the STEM Learning Ecosystem model throughout the state of Kansas.”
“Our nation’s future prosperity depends on excellence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and on making sure every single child in this country has a fair shot at excelling in these critical fields,” said James Brown, Executive Director, STEM Education Coalition. “Investing in the capacity of regional, state, and local community-based and STEM focused organizations that aspire to this goal is the foundation of a sustainable strategy to keep our country strong and competitive. The Strengthening STEM Ecosystems Act is a novel, bipartisan approach to meet this challenge.”
“This legislation will be a transformative investment to enable regional STEM ecosystems across the country to connect their business, education, and community organizations to collectively inspire and engage millions in STEM,” said Jeremy Babendure, Executive Director, SciTech Institute.
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