Congressman Tim Ryan and Congressman James Langevin yesterday introduced the Innovation Inspiration School Grant Program, which will provide federal support for programs that provide hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics training to students. This grant program will increase access to careers in science, technology and math by providing states and schools critical resources to partner with local industries in supporting the participation of students in STEM competitions such as robotics programs that allow students to build robots and compete against other schools in robotics competitions. These programs inspire young people to graduate high school, enter the workforce, or go onto college to major in science and engineering and pursue careers in these fields.
"In today's global economy, American students must have access to better STEM training, have the opportunity to be mentored by professionals in the field and be engaged in the study of these critical issues at deeper, more meaningful levels. Unfortunately, too few students are pursuing education in these areas, or are being outperformed by international competitors. I am proud to join Congressman Langevin in introducing this legislation to promote STEM education in schools around the country," said Congressman Ryan.
"This program recognizes that our country's future competitiveness and prosperity depend upon ensuring students obtain the skills that expanding industries demand," said Langevin, who also co-chairs the bipartisan Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus. "We can do so much better than the status quo, but it requires outside the box thinking to prepare them to excel in an economy in which an increasing number of opportunities necessitate STEM training. It's critical that policymakers encourage our educators to find innovative ways to engage youth in these fields, and I thank Congressman Ryan for his tireless work in support of this effort," said Congressman Langevin.
"We greatly appreciate Congressmen Ryan and Langevin's leadership on STEM education. This legislation seeks to ensure that schools across America have the resources to participate in programs like FIRST, thereby enabling more students to have the opportunity to be inspired by science and technology and consider STEM careers," said FIRST Founder Dean Kamen.
According to the Department of Labor (DOL), a major key to continuing United States competitiveness in an increasingly global economic environment is a growing and improving Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) workforce. Projections by the DOL show employment in STEM occupations are expected to increase faster that employment in non-STEM occupations in the coming decade. In fact, it is expected that employment in computer and mathematical science occupations will grow more than twice as fast as all other occupations in the economy.
In 2009, only 18 percent of bachelor's degrees awarded were in STEM fields. In today's global economy, American students must have access to better STEM training, and have the opportunity to be mentored by professionals in the field, which encourages the pursuit of STEM careers. The Innovation Inspiration School Grant Program will help provide that access.