This spring, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s Public Affairs Advisory Committee is asking you to encourage the U.S. Congress to support legislation to broaden participation by underrepresented minorities, women and veterans in STEM.
Spring marks a transition period for many. Semesters are wrapping up and degrees are being conferred. Programs that provide research funding and STEM training have supported many of those graduating this year.
The ASBMB’s spring advocacy campaign will urge elected officials to co-sponsor H.R. 2528: STEM Opportunities Act, S. 153: Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act and H.R. 627: STEM Research and Education Effectiveness and Transparency Act. Introduced in the 116th Congress, these bills aim to expand and diversify the U.S. STEM workforce by establishing new programs to prepare underrepresented groups and military veterans for STEM careers.
It is important that elected officials hear from you on these issues. To facilitate this, the ASBMB has drafted letters for you. All you need to do is enter your information, personalize as you see fit, and submit.
According to the 2018 Science & Engineering Indicators report, women represented 40% of all STEM doctorate holders but occupied only 28% of STEM occupations in 2015. During that same year, blacks and Hispanics made up 6.4% and 8.4% of STEM doctorate holders but occupied only 4.8% and 6% of STEM jobs, respectively. While there have been small increases in degree attainment and participation over the past decade, both underrepresented minorities and women are still not proportionally represented in the STEM workforce. Increased federal funding for additional STEM recruitment and retention programs may improve these troubling statistics.
Veterans represent an untapped resource for the nation’s scientific enterprise. Between 2009 and 2013, student veteran enrollment in U.S. institutions of higher education grew from 500,000 to 1 million. Furthermore, almost a third of student veterans are women. With the percentage of veterans pursuing degrees steadily increasing, it is important to provide the proper infrastructure for them to join the nation’s STEM workforce, including federal programs and policies that will support degree attainment and transitions into STEM careers.
Whether you are a faculty member, trainee, recent graduate, university administrator or industry member, you can help guarantee that the necessary infrastructure is available for the next generation to succeed by urging your lawmakers to support the three bills above.