Congressman Joe Kennedy III today released the following statement in response to the Administration's new five-year strategic plan for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
"Strengthening our STEM education efforts is critical to ensuring our kids have the skills they need to participate in the innovation economy that will drive this country's future," said Congressman Kennedy. "I applaud the Administration for making STEM a priority and for submitting proposals that focus on how we can be more effective and efficient."
"Moving forward, it's essential that we approach STEM as a vehicle not just for economic competitiveness abroad, but for economic opportunity at home. Current estimates show hundreds of thousands of jobs opening up in advanced manufacturing, clean energy, information technology and life sciences over the next decade. As companies in these innovation industries continue to grow, they depend on a workforce with basic technical skills and can supply a wealth of strong, well-paid, middle-class jobs. STEM training is key to connecting those jobs with the communities and workers that need them most. We must be diligent in ensuring STEM programs and curriculums reach our middle and working class communities -- not just students who are lucky to attend a good school in an affluent city or town. I look forward to working with the Administration and my fellow committee members to explore the role that vocational schools, community colleges and workforce retraining programs can play in our efforts -- and to be certain we are equitably distributing the valuable benefits of STEM."
Congressman Kennedy is a member of the House Committee on Science and Technology, which is holding a hearing today on the five-year plan with representatives from the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). An engineer by training, he is a member of the Congressional STEM Caucus and serves as honorary chair of Governor Deval Patrick's STEM Council in Massachusetts.