By 2020, there will be 9.2 million Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) jobs in the United States of America. House Republicans are determined to make sure we graduate students ready to fill these in-demand and high-paying positions.
That’s why this week we passed Representative Lamar Smith’s (R-TX) bipartisan STEM Education Act. This bill broadens the definition of STEM subjects to include computer science and expand programs at the National Science Foundation to support informal STEM education activities.
It ensures existing grants that provide funding flexibility to local school districts will be available to support STEM curriculum programs. It also gives more incoming STEM teachers access to grants that help them pursue higher education degrees.
This is all great news, because more students must have access to challenging and successful STEM opportunities. This is something I heard repeatedly from Hoosier tech leaders when I hosted an industry listening session in my district last February.
And we need to encourage more girls to pursue opportunities in STEM subjects like bioscience, engineering and computer coding. Look at this picture of the bathroom line during a recent Apple Developer conference:
By 2020 and hopefully sooner, we need to make sure that line looks very different!
Because I’m so passionate about this subject, I introduced a bill called the Computer Science Education Act. This piece of legislation expands the definition of a core academic subject in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to include computer science. Doing so will give local school leaders more flexibility to financially support computer science equipment purchases, Advanced Placement exams and teacher professional development. Of the open STEM jobs in 2020, a significant number of them will be in computing. So it’s extremely important we continue to help students gain access to computer science opportunities.
House Republicans will continue to support efforts that connect young people with in-demand career paths. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made this week, and I can’t wait to see our graduates fill those 9.2 million STEM jobs!
Susan Brooks is the representative for Indiana’s 5th District, and serves on the Education and Workforce, Homeland Security and Ethics Committees.