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January 27, 2020

Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) Floor Statement for S. 153, the Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act

Madam Speaker, I rise today to support S. 153, the Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act.

The future of this nation will be driven by science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM careers are among the fastest growing and highest paying occupations. Despite these trends, we are failing to produce enough STEM workers to support the current pace of growth and innovation and ensure we continue to lead the world in science and technology development.

As a nation, we are forever indebted to the men and women who choose to serve in the military and put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms we hold dear. At a minimum, we must ensure veterans interested in pursuing STEM careers here at home have the support they need. Veterans are uniquely positioned to contribute to our STEM workforce – often having training in cybersecurity, avionics, nuclear physics, and medicine. However, significant obstacles often stand in their way when transitioning to a civilian STEM career.

S. 153 establishes an interagency working group to identify these obstacles and develop a plan for addressing them. The bill also directs the National Science Foundation to improve its outreach to veterans and report on veterans in the STEM workforce.

These are important steps for honoring our commitment to veterans and for ensuring we have a competitive STEM workforce.

I want to thank Representatives Dunn and Lamb and our colleagues in the Senate, Senators Rubio and Klobuchar, for their leadership on this important issue.

I urge my colleagues to support this bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.