WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03) recently introduced the 21st Century STEM for Girls and Underrepresented Minorities Act, H.R. 3119, a bill to empower school districts to better engage girls, young women and underrepresented minorities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Reflecting on her bill, Beatty said, “We need highly trained Americans—hardworking individuals from all walks of life—ready for the jobs of tomorrow. A highly-skilled, STEM-educated workforce is essential to ensuring U.S. competitiveness and leadership in a rapidly changing global economy.” Beatty continued, “Unfortunately, our country is facing a shortage of tens of thousands of workers skilled in these areas. This important piece of legislation would help broaden the STEM pipeline to include our fellow Americans who have been historically underrepresented, creating a larger, more diverse STEM talent pool that our nation so desperately needs.”
If enacted, the 21st Century STEM for Girls and Underrepresented Minorities Act would provide funding for local school districts to create the necessary infrastructure for enhanced STEM learning early in a student’s academic career. Federal funding would be used to improve professional development for teachers, strengthen outreach to parents, provide mentoring and tutoring programs, expand access to afterschool and summer programs that provide additional enrichment opportunities in STEM, and promote academic advice and assistance in high school course selection that encourages girls and underrepresented minorities to take advanced STEM classes and become STEM professionals.
Beatty’s bill comes on the heels of General Motors (GM) Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra’s announcement that the car-making giant will begin training teachers and working with students, specifically girls and minorities, in grade school for jobs in computer engineering. Through their new outreach efforts, GM hopes to encourage more students to pursue careers in coding and to lead the effort in building self-driving automobiles.