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Engineering Policy Update

ASME is active on Capitol Hill, supporting bills and regulations that represent the interests of mechanical engineers! In this edition of Capitol Update, we would like to bring your attention to H.R. 1403, the STEM RESTART Act.  


Introduced by Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, this legislation addresses critical issues facing STEM fields, such as talent shortages, a lack of workforce diversity, and the underutilization of experienced professionals who are currently under or unemployed. If passed and signed into law, the STEM RESTART Act would support mid-career STEM workers, including workers from underrepresented populations, to reenter the STEM workforce by incentivizing businesses to offer paid internships and other "returnships.”  

Recognizing the pivotal role of STEM in driving innovation, economic growth, and national competitiveness, the bill offers targeted support for U.S. STEM workers, including mechanical engineers.  

Grant Program for STEM Workers 

A central component of the STEM RESTART Act is the establishment of a grant program to help STEM professionals acquire good STEM jobs. The proposed program includes financial support to eligible employers, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations. To qualify for grants, organizations would have to meet specific eligibility criteria. These criteria include:  

  • Commitment to developing and implementing effective strategies for recruiting and retaining STEM workers returning from career breaks 

  • Ability to provide mentorship and professional development opportunities to ease a worker's transition back into the workforce 

  • Dedication to promoting workplace flexibility and inclusivity to accommodate the diverse needs of returning STEM professionals 

The potential impacts of the STEM RESTART Act are significant. The bill has the potential to: 

  • Address the talent gap in STEM fields by tapping into a pool of experienced professionals who have temporarily left the workforce 

  • Stimulate innovation and research by reintegrating skilled professionals into active roles within the STEM community 

  • Strengthen the overall competitiveness of the United States in the global STEM landscape 

  • Enhance diversity within the STEM workforce by providing targeted support for underrepresented groups 

Understanding the historical context of STEM workforce challenges is important for appreciating the motivations behind the bill. Proponents of the bill believe rapid technological advancements, global competition, and evolving workforce dynamics necessitate targeted legislative intervention. The STEM RESTART Act represents a serious effort to support U.S. industry and the U.S. workforce. By offering support aimed at bringing experienced professionals back into STEM careers, the bill also promises to foster U.S. innovation and economic growth.  

Click here to read the bill:   

ASME members are influential constituents for STEM related policy issues. Your voice matters! Let us know what you think on X (formerly known as Twitter). Share your ideas by using the handles below:  


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