Monday, December 9, 2013

Bill for STEM experiences for underepresented students

Rep. Kennedy & Sen. Gillibrand plan to introduce a bill Tuesday that would create a Dept. of Ed grant program to increase STEM exposure and experiences to under-represented K-12 students.  They are seeking organizational support.  Attached is a section by section and a letter of support from MOS/NCTL. The final bill language will be out Tuesday

If your organization would like to support their efforts, just in Rep. Kennedy’s office.


STEM Opportunities Act
Representative Joseph P. Kennedy and Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand
To increase the participation of women, girls, and underrepresented minorities in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, to encourage and support students from all economic backgrounds to pursue STEM career opportunities, and for other purposes. 

Section 1. Short Title.
STEM Opportunities Act

Section 2. Findings.
The makeup of the US STEM workforce does not reflect the diversity of our nation.  While STEM fields are projected to continue creating high-quality job opportunities and driving economic growth, many segments of the American workforce have subpar access to these opportunities and are underrepresented in the pipeline of STEM workers. 

·         Women’s representation in STEM occupations has increased since the 1970s, but women remain significantly underrepresented in engineering and computer science. 

·         Black and Hispanic Americans are underrepresented in STEM fields, in large part because of a lack of equality in educational opportunity.

·         Half of all STEM jobs are available to workers without a 4-year college degree, but only one-fifth of the federal government’s investment in STEM education and training goes towards supporting sub-bachelor’s level training.   Community colleges and vocational/technical high schools are essential pathways to making sure that students from all economic backgrounds have access to middle skill and middle class jobs in STEM fields. 

Section 3. Grant Program Authorized
This bill authorizes the Department of Education to award competitive grants geared towards elementary and secondary students to local education agencies and other entities working to ensure that all students and workers have access to the opportunities created by ongoing job creation and economic growth in the STEM fields.

Eligible uses of funds include: professional development, classroom learning, career preparation, tutoring, mentoring, after-school activities, summer and extended-time learning and equipment purchasing. Grantees must demonstrate that programming is based on a review of local and national workforce needs, including an analysis of job openings that require STEM knowledge or training.  Grant funds must be used to carry out programming that achieves the following goals for women and girls, underrepresented ethnic minorities, and individuals from all economic backgrounds (including economically disadvantaged individuals and individuals living in economically distressed areas):
  • ·         Encourages interest in STEM fields
  • ·         Supports classroom success and workforce training in STEM fields
  • ·         Improves access to STEM career opportunities

Section 4. Definitions 

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