(City of Industry, CA) – With nearly 50 years of experience in diversifying and strengthening the STEM field, SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers) applauds Congress for enacting the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 on a broad bipartisan basis. This bill is an unprecedented investment to our nation’s workforce in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and will undoubtedly bolster U.S. global competitiveness in innovation by providing the tools to break STEM barriers.
We are thrilled the CHIPS and Science Act dedicates crucial funding for the National Science Foundation to strengthen and grow a highly skilled innovation workforce by broadening access to STEM education and diversifying the STEM field over the next five years. Some have projected that the legislation could help add 90,000 workers in these fields by 2025.
With $81 billion in new funding authorizations for the National Science Foundation over five years, the bill will:
- PreK-12 STEM education: Identify STEM education barriers; support research and development to improve informal STEM education; and establish a ten-year National STEM Teacher Corps pilot program to attract and retain highly skilled teachers and thus increase student participation and achievements.
- Undergraduate STEM education: Support research and development to better align STEM education and training with workforce needs; updates the Advanced Technological Education program to establish a network of centers for science and technical education, and supports research and development to improve STEM education at community colleges; awards effective research and development practices in community colleges for STEM education, hands-on training and research experiences, and career and technical education in STEM fields; establishes a pilot program to develop and scale up successful models for providing students with hands-on course-based research experiences.
- Graduate STEM education: Expand requirement for funding proposals to include a mentoring plan for graduate students; supports facilitating career exploration opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers; creates a requirement for funding proposals to include individual development plans and provides supplemental funding for facilitating professional development for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers; updates the Graduate Research Fellowship Program to increase the number of new graduate fellows supported annually, address workforce demand, increase the cost of education allowance, and recruit a more diverse pool of applicants; requires an evaluation of mechanisms for supporting graduate student education and training; requires a report on the need and feasibility of a program to recruit and train the next generation of artificial intelligence professionals and authorizes NSF to establish a Federal AI scholarship-for-service program, which would run in addition to existing programs such as CyberCorps Scholarship-for-Service.
- Rural STEM education: Authorizes the National Science Foundation to support online STEM education and mentoring research; innovative approaches in STEM teaching that improve student participation and advancement, including through a pilot program of regional rural cohorts that provide peer support, mentoring, and hands-on research experiences for rural STEM educators. Directs the NSF Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE) to report to Congress an assessment of NSF activities that support participation of rural students in STEM studies.
We are grateful for the strong support and big investments from Congress to further access to STEM education and diversify the STEM workforce. We celebrate this big win and look forward to becoming a resource and partner for Federal leaders during its implementation process.
SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers) is a nonprofit organization serving and advancing Hispanics in STEM. With more than 13,000 student and professional members, SHPE’s mission is to change lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support, and development. To accomplish this, SHPE provides a variety of programming, services, resources, and events, including hosting the largest Hispanic STEM convention in the nation. For more information, visit http://shpe.org.
Mariana Acuña Delgado