Commentary: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) is cosponsoring the Women and Minorities in STEM Booster Act, a bill to increase the number of women and minorities entering the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. The bill was introduced today by U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) and U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.-12).
"We must broaden participation in STEM to more women and girls and minorities so they can compete for the jobs of the future," said Sen. Heinrich. "It's critical that students from all backgrounds see the opportunities the STEM fields have to offer. This legislation will enable our schools and workforce development programs to create pathways toward a more diverse future generation of innovators."
The Women and Minorities in STEM Booster Act would authorize the National Science Foundation to award competitive grants for outreach, mentoring, and professional development programs that support recruitment and retention of women and minorities in STEM fields. The legislation also authorizes funding for STEM education outreach programs at the elementary and secondary school level, and includes an emphasis on funding for mentoring programs, as well as programs to increase the recruitment and retention of women and minority university faculty.
The Women and Minorities in STEM Booster Act is supported by the American Association of University Women; Association of Women's Business Centers; Association of Women in Science; Girl Scouts of the USA; Girls, Inc.; National Action Council for Minority Engineers; National Council of Asian Pacific Americans; National Society for Black Engineers; Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science; Southeast Asia Resource Action Center; Society of Women Engineers; STEMConnector/Million Women Mentors; and Women in Public Policy.