Rosen Co-Sponsors Bills to Boost Women and Minorities in STEM

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), announced her co-sponsorship of the STEM Opportunities Act and Women and Minorities in STEM Booster Act. Both of these bills would work to improve opportunities for women and minorities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

“It is critical that we work to expand the number of women and other underrepresented groups in STEM jobs,” said Senator Rosen. “Women make up half of our nation’s workforce but they still only hold less than a quarter of all STEM jobs. The lack of inclusion of women and minorities in STEM is preventing talented minds from discovering our next scientific breakthrough, founding the next tech company, or protecting our nation from cyber threats. I will continue working to break down the barriers that prevent all Americans from access to STEM fields.”

BACKGROUND: The STEM Opportunities Act requires increased data collection to better understand who receives federal grants, clarifies guidance for grant reviewers to minimize the effects of implicit bias, and establishes federal grants to promote research-based recruitment and retention practices for minority faculty and students at institutions of higher education. Additionally, the bill requires guidance for federal laboratories and institutions of higher education to identify any cultural or institutional barriers that limit the recruitment and retention of women and minorities in STEM careers.

The Women and Minorities in STEM Booster Act establishes grants to support programs designed to increase participation for women and minorities in STEM. Programs would include online workshops, mentoring and internship programs to connect professionals with undergraduate and graduate students, outreach programs for K-12 students, retention programs for underrepresented STEM faculty, and other related programs.

In September, Rosen’s bipartisan Building Blocks of STEM Act passed the Senate.

Earlier this year, Rosen introduced the bipartisan Building Blocks of STEM Act, which would create and expand upon STEM education initiatives at the National Science Foundation (NSF) for young children, including new research grants to increase the participation of girls in computer science.

Rosen is also a cosponsor of the 21st Century STEM for Girls and Underrepresented Minorities Act, which would fund STEM education to engage female students, students of color, LGBTQ students, and students with disabilities to pursue careers in STEM fields.