Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) Delivers Keynote on Advancing U.S. Leadership in Science and Engineering During ASME’s Policy Impact Event
Jun 7, 2021
As hundreds of ASME members gathered virtually for the inaugural ASME Policy Impact, Tom Costabile, ASME’s Executive Director/CEO, introduced Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA-6), whose remarks then helped guide the ASME audience as the latter embarked on a day of virtual Congressional visits. Rep. Houlahan is a Congressional leader in science and engineering policy. During her speech, she addressed key issues impacting the engineering community and provided insight into the engineering and science innovation agenda in the 117th Congress.
Representative Houlahan then gave her perspective on where the future of work is going and how the science and engineering innovation agenda is shaping up in the 117th Congress. Rep. Houlahan is one of only 17 engineers in Congress. During the event, she shared how her engineering background allows her to take a unique look at policy problems and offer solutions. She also spoke to how her background provides her with skills that have allowed her to work collaboratively in Congress to get things done.
Together with her colleagues, Rep. Houlahan hopes to offer a cohesive, collective vision for the future of work in the United States. She shared how, as we begin to emerge from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, we must realize that jobs have shifted, and therefore the “future of work” conversation must also shift to meet the jobs issue where it stands today. To address the workforce issues we face today, Rep. Houlahan recently introduced the Research Advancing to Market Production (RAMP) for Innovators Act to help entrepreneurs access federal capital to create new businesses and job opportunities. The bipartisan legislation would enhance commercialization services for federally funded research and development and support American innovators by expediting SBIR/STTR application processes, improving technical and business assistance, and making small businesses eligible for fast-tracked U.S. Patent Office services.
Rep. Houlahan asserted that the government must promote access to capital for entrepreneurs to spur innovation and carry out and scale up new ideas. It is not enough to just say “get people back to work;” rather, we need to provide the right incentives and structure to allow for the creation of new businesses. Rep. Houlahan believes that providing innovative businesses with the support they need can in turn create new American jobs that pay a living wage and are available to all educational levels and backgrounds in the post-pandemic world. She commented that policymakers must create policies that will prepare today’s workforce for the jobs of tomorrow. Rep. Houlahan also addressed the widening gender gap, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic; many women have been forced to take a step back from their careers due to lack of childcare and child education.
ASME’s Executive Director/CEO Tom Costabile asked Rep. Houlahan to speak more about the “Women in STEM Education Caucus” she founded, noting ASME’s particular concern for ensuring the participation of women in STEM at all levels. Rep. Houlahan discussed the work she is doing in Congress to address access to STEM education for women and other policy concerns that impact women participating in STEM careers, such as access to childcare, transportation, and broadband. “We need to diversify our workforce,” she stated, and ASME is working to advance policies that achieve this end.
A full recording Rep. Houlahan’s remarks will be made available on the Policy Impact event page and on ASME’s YouTube page in the coming days and a link will be provided in future editions of the “ASME Capitol Update Newsletter.”