With more than two million jobs in STEM fields projected to go unfilled in the next decade, the House of Representatives on Sept. 25 unanimously approved legislation to support education and workforce development programs in the field.
H.R. 5509, the Innovations in Mentoring, Training, and Apprenticeships Act directs the National Science Foundation to provide awards to academic institutions for innovative approaches to STEM education and related workforce development programs.
“Our economy is demanding more technical skills at every level and federal agencies need to respond more aggressively to emerging workforce needs," .said James Brown, executive director, STEM Education Coalition on the Innovations in Mentoring, Training, and Apprenticeships Act. "This bill moves us forward in that direction.
The bill strengthens the workforce pipeline in STEM fields through apprenticeships and other applied learning opportunities with regional employers in in-demand STEM fields for two-year degree programs, technical skills certificates and baccalaureate STEM degree programs.
The bill also requires NSF to conduct research to improve our understanding of the skilled technical workforce.