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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) – senior members of the Senate Committee on Commerce – today introduced the bipartisan NSF AI Education Act of 2024 to expand scholarship and professional development opportunities to study artificial intelligence (AI) with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

“Artificial Intelligence has tremendous potential, but it will require a skilled and capable workforce to unlock its capabilities,” said Sen. Moran. “If we want to fully understand AI and remain globally competitive, we must invest in the future workforce today. This legislation takes an all-of-the-above approach, investing in STEM education, fellowships and hands-on-learning from kindergarten to college for students in rural areas, at community colleges and from low-income homes. Inspiration to explore and the resources to learn will help make certain the U.S. is an AI leader in the next century.”

“The emerging tech jobs of tomorrow are here today,” said Sen. Cantwell. “Seattle has one of the nation’s highest growth rates for AI jobs, AgAID in Pullman is helping our farmers feed the world with AI solutions that overcome crop productivity challenges and the entire Pacific Northwest is on the way to becoming America’s 'Quantum Valley.’ Demand for AI expertise is already high and will continue to grow. This bill will open doors to AI for students at all levels, and upskill our workforce to drive American tech innovation, entrepreneurship and progress in solving the toughest global challenges.”

The NSF AI Education Act would authorize the agency to award undergraduate and graduate scholarships in AI, quantum hybrid and quantum, including scholarships focused on the use of AI in agriculture, education and advanced manufacturing. It would create fellowships for professional development for those already in the STEM and require NSF to work with educators and academics to introduce AI skills and education in K-12 classrooms and community colleges. It would also create grants for AI research, development and training in agriculture through Land-Grant Universities and the Cooperative Extension Service.

The Bipartisan NSF AI Education Act:

  • Boosts Educational and Professional Development Opportunities to Create AI and Quantum Leaders of Tomorrow: This bill authorizes NSF to award undergraduate and graduate scholarships for students to study every aspect of AI – its development, deployment, integration or application. It establishes scholarships for future educators, farmers and growers, and those in advanced manufacturing to study AI. It also provides professional development opportunities for current educators and STEM workers. The bill leverages financial support from the private sector to support the NSF scholarships and fellowships authorized by this bill.
  • Supports Quantum Education: In addition to supporting AI education, the bill will provide fellowships and scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students for quantum information science, engineering and technology. AI can help lead to breakthroughs in quantum and this bill works to support research, development and education for the technology.
  • Advances AI Technology to Support Agriculture: This bill propels AI research in agriculture to equip farmers with advanced farming tools for better crop production. It authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture in collaboration with the NSF to make grants for AI research, development and training in agriculture through Land-Grant Universities and the Cooperative Extension Service to reach rural communities.
  • Supports Community Colleges to Lead AI Education: In coordination with the Regional Technology and Innovation Hub Program from the CHIPS & Science Act, this bill calls for creating at least five community college and vocational school “Centers of AI Excellence” across the country. These centers will focus building upon the best practices for teaching and researching AI and disseminating those practices across the country. These Centers will focus on topics like AI education and training, manufacturing, agriculture and more.
  • Spurs Innovation to Educate Workforce: This bill establishes NSF Grand Challenges to help find strategies to educate 1 million or more workers on AI in the United States by 2028. The bill also supports the creation of an AI education and training framework that does not displace existing workers, including teachers and helps more underrepresented populations such as women and rural residents to receive and benefit from artificial intelligence education and training.
  • Supports AI Resources for Classrooms: As AI rapidly develops, this bill instructs the NSF to collaborate with educators and academics and lead research on AI in the classroom. NSF would be tasked with researching teaching tools and creating publicly available education guidance for using AI in classrooms, with a focus on tools for K-12, low-income, rural and tribal students.


Read the bill text here and the summary here.

"Microsoft is pleased to support the NSF AI Education Act of 2024, which is an important first step that will help support students, professionals, and institutions, including community colleges, prepare for and leverage the opportunities brought about by AI,” said Fred Humphries, Corporate Vice President, U.S. Government Affairs, Microsoft. “We look forward to working with the Senate on future legislation as we continue to see the impact of AI across our nation’s education and workforce systems."

“The United States needs a skilled workforce to harness the potential of AI for a more prosperous future,” said Daniel Castro, Vice President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. “Investing in AI education is crucial for nurturing homegrown talent and ensuring our nation remains competitive as this transformative technology continues to advance. This legislation is an important step forward in strengthening the STEM talent pipeline and empowering the next generation of AI pioneers to keep the United States at the frontiers of this technology.”

"The future of business and industry are reliant upon AI technology,” said Dr. Ryan Ruda, President of Garden City Community College. “It is critical, now more than ever, that higher education institutions embrace programs, training, and workforce development that embeds AI into curriculum and professional development. It is incumbent on higher education to build collaborative industry partnerships and training which best prepare individuals for this changing workplace. STEM education and grant opportunities included in the NSF AI Education Act will further provide opportunities to expand AI training and create access across higher education."

"Artificial intelligence is helping us build a world filled with creative innovations and opportunities, and we are just beginning to understand the landscape of possibilities it offers," said Rick Muma, President of Wichita State University. "As an institution dedicated to innovation and academic excellence, Wichita State University supports the proposed bill to advance artificial intelligence education and research. This initiative will empower our students with cutting-edge knowledge and skills in AI and related fields and drive progress in areas such as agriculture, education, and quantum technologies. By providing robust scholarships, fellowships, and professional development opportunities, this bill will help cultivate the next generation of AI leaders and ensure that diverse and underserved communities have access to these transformative technologies. We are excited about the potential this legislation holds for fostering educational excellence and technological innovation across the nation."

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