This bipartisan bill, introduced in January by Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., recognizes that veterans possess technical skills and traits that make them ideal candidates for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The bill directs the National Science Foundation to do more to engage and support veterans.
The number of jobs in the life sciences is projected to grow by 10% by 2026, outperforming expected overall job growth. More specifically, jobs for biochemists and biophysicists are expected to grow by 11%.
This expansion coincides with an influx of service members transitioning to civilian life and determining the next steps in their professional careers.
The time is right for the federal government to invest in additional STEM educational resources and training programs for veterans, which is where the Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act comes in.
Specifically, the bill directs the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation to develop policies and interagency programs to better support veterans and their spouses seeking careers in STEM.
The legislation direct the NSF to develop new methods to encourage veterans to pursue STEM degrees while leveraging ongoing federal programs and initiatives.
In addition, it requires the research funding agency to submit a strategic plan to both chambers of Congress laying out how it will enhance outreach and programmatic efforts to involve more veterans in scientific research careers. The bill tasks the National Science Board with providing annual updates in its Science and Engineering Indicators report on the status of veterans in STEM.
Additionally, the legislation makes the director of the White House OSTP responsible for oversight of an interagency working group to monitor and evaluate the progress of the NSF strategic plan for increasing the participation of veterans in STEM.
The U.S. House of Representatives introduced and passed a companion bill, H.R. 425: Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act, earlier this year.
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