Today the House of Representatives passed H.R. 425, the Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act. The bipartisan bill, sponsored entirely by veterans in Congress and authored by Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL), encourages veterans to study and pursue careers in STEM fields.
H.R. 425 directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop education and outreach programs to expand STEM opportunities for veterans.
“Our nation’s veterans deserve every opportunity to transition to a rewarding and successful civilian life," said Rep. Dunn. "This bill will help our service members to continue to serve our nation in new ways, by filling 21st-century jobs and keeping America on the cutting edge of innovation. I appreciate Ranking Member Lucas’ leadership and support for this effort.”
Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA) is the original cosponsor of H.R. 425. “Veterans come out of the military with a wide range of skills and the best training in the world. They shouldn't be struggling to find jobs in the civilian workforce, especially not when trade schools and businesses are struggling to fill high-demand, high-paying jobs in STEM-related industries," said Rep. Conor Lamb. "That's why this bipartisan bill is so important. It connects the dots and targets our outreach, so we can help veterans compete for some of the best jobs in the 21st century.”
The Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act is also co-sponsored by Dr. Brian Babin (R-TX), Dr. Roger Marshall (R-KS), Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL), Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), and Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ).
Veterans bring a wealth of skills from military training, including hands-on experience in STEM work. But a lack of formal STEM education and the difficulty of transferring military credits to college credits create barriers to broader STEM employment for veterans. The greatest concern among veterans transitioning to civilian life is finding employment. This bill not only addresses that problem but also enhances our workforce with skilled employees.
Ranking Member Frank Lucas said, “I commend Rep. Dunn and my colleagues for advancing this important legislation to better serve our veterans and enhance the American STEM workforce.”
H.R. 425 updates existing NSF programs to include outreach to veterans and requires annual reporting on veteran participation in STEM fields. Additionally, it directs the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to create a cross-government working group to identify and address barriers veterans and military spouses face in securing STEM employment.
A companion bill, S. 153, has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.