House Passes Several Bills Aimed at Broadening Participation in STEM

May 24, 2021


Last week, the House met under suspension of the rules to vote on a compilation of STEM-related bills, including H.R. 204 – STEM Opportunities Act, H.R. 210 – Rural STEM Education Research Act, H.R. 144 – Supporting Early-Career Researchers Act, and H.R. 2027 – MSI STEM Achievement Act, among others. These bills work to address inequalities that make it harder for underrepresented groups and students in rural communities to access quality STEM education. ASME has recently issued a Position Statement titled, “Strengthening Pre-College STEM Education in the United States as a Technology Literacy and Workforce Imperative.”
Below, please find a short description of each of the bills mentioned above that passed the House last week:
H.R. 204 – STEM Opportunities ACT
This bill provides for guidance, data collection, and grants for groups historically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education at institutions of higher education (IHEs) and at federal science agencies. Specifically, the bill requires the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to provide specified guidance related to such groups to federal science agencies and IHEs.
H.R. 210 – Rural STEM Education Research Act
This bill directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support research regarding STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, including computer science) education in rural schools. The NSF must award grants to institutions of higher education or nonprofit organizations for (1) research and development to advance innovative approaches to support and sustain high-quality STEM teaching in rural schools, (2) research and development of programming to identify the barriers rural students face in accessing high-quality STEM education, (3) development of innovative solutions to improve the participation and advancement of rural students in grades Pre-K through 12 in STEM studies, and (4) research on online STEM education courses for rural communities.
H.R. 144 – Supporting Early-Career Researchers Act
This bill authorizes the National Science Foundation to establish a two-year pilot program to award grants to highly qualified early-career investigators to carry out an independent research program at the institution of higher education chosen by such investigator, to last for a period not greater than two years.
H.R. 2027 – MSI STEM Achievement Act
This bill supports efforts to increase science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education at minority-serving institutions of higher education (IHEs), including by requiring the National Science Foundation to award grants for building the capacity of such IHEs to increase the number and success of their students in the STEM workforce.
Additional education-related bills that passed the House alongside those mentioned above under suspension of the rules, among others, include:
  • H.R. 144 – Supporting Early-Career Researchers Act
  • H.R. 240 – Homeless Veterans with Children Reintegration Act
  • H.R. 711 – West LA VA Campus Improvement Act
  • H.R. 2167 – GI Bill National Emergency Extended Deadline Act
  • H.R. 2494 – To amend title 38, United States Code, to establish in the Department the Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration, and for other purposes
  • H.R. 2695 – Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act
  • H.R. 2704 – Improving VA Accountability to Prevent Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Act
  • H.R. 2788 – Equal Employment Counseling Modernization Act
  • H.R. 2878 – Native VetSuccess at Tribal Colleges and Universities Pilot Program ActRelated ASME Position Statements:

Related ASME Position Statements:

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