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Obernolte Bill Will Build America’s AI Workforce

Jun 11, 2021
Press Release

(Washington, DC) Today, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Ranking Member Jay Obernolte (R-CA) was joined by Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK), and Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) to introduce legislation to strengthen America’s artificial intelligence (AI) workforce. 

H.R. 3844, the Fellowships and Traineeships for Early-Career AI Researchers Act, directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) to award grants supporting fellowship programs for graduate students pursuing research on artificial intelligence. It also directs NSF to award traineeship grants that provide graduate students with opportunities for AI research experiences in government or industry. The legislation moves forward on a provision first introduced by Lucas in H.R. 2153, the Securing American Leadership in Science and Technology Act (SALSTA).

“Computer science will be critical to the future of jobs in our country as well as an important asset for our national security, especially as our nation faces a wave of cyberattacks by foreign actors,” said Obernolte. “The United States lags other countries such as China in producing highly-skilled computer science professionals. We must do more as a nation to actively strengthen our computer science workforce to ensure the future of our economy, the strength of our technology workforce, and the security of our nation.”

“Increased implementation of AI technology will not only improve efficiency across a multitude of industries, it will also open up new career pathways,” said McNerney. “This program will enable the United States to remain competitive and invest in the economy of the future, in addition to training the next generation for careers in artificial intelligence.”

“Artificial Intelligence is incorporated into everything from our appliances to the way we bank, and that influence is only going to grow,” Lucas said. “AI is driving the future of technology, manufacturing, and services, so American needs a workforce of skilled researchers and practitioners to support that growth. Rep. Obernolte’s bill helps us develop the next generation of AI professionals, and I’m proud to support this bipartisan legislation.” 

“Last year this Committee enacted sweeping artificial intelligence legislation, but there is still more to be done,” Johnson said. “AI holds immense promise to bolster our competitiveness and spur economic growth; and supporting our nation’s early-career AI researchers is critical to achieving those goals. This important legislation is a bipartisan effort that began last year and I am proud to join my Science Committee colleagues Ranking Member Lucas, and Congressmen Obernolte and McNerney as they move forward. We are at a critical point in the development of this technology, and we must ensure we have the research knowledge base and workforce necessary to maximize its benefits for all Americans.”

117th Congress