WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, alongside Senators Mike Rounds (R-SD), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), announced the introduction of the bipartisan PROMOTES Act of 2020, legislation that would authorize the Secretary of Defense to carry out a program to enhance the preparation of students in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) for training and education in STEM fields. Identical legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressmen Anthony Brown (D-MD) and Michael Waltz (R-FL).

“We must ensure we are preparing our next generation with the skills that reflect the future of our workforce and that are necessary to protect our nation, and that training begins in the classroom,” said Senator Rosen. “This bipartisan legislation will invest much-needed resources to invest in STEM training and education for our JROTC cadets. I will continue working on commonsense legislation that provides critical 21st century educational skills to our armed forces.”

“Increasing access to computer science and digital skills is critical as these skills are needed to succeed in the 21st century economy,” said Fred Humphries, Corporate Vice President of U.S. Government Affairs at Microsoft. “The PROMOTES Act encourages that access to prepare young people enrolled in JROTC for in-demand careers and to address national security needs. The legislation is timely and I commend Senators Rosen, Rounds, Blackburn, and Peters for their leadership.

“Intel is proud to support the PROMOTES Act and applauds the leadership of both Senator Rosen and Senator Rounds to increase STEM education opportunities,” said Norberto Salinas, Director of Global Workforce Policy & Senior Counsel at the Intel Corporation. “Now more than ever, we must support our students - the next generation of STEM innovators - in critical areas like cybersecurity, AI, computer science and more. Expanding the future technical workforce is paramount, and this legislation provides the needed funding for programs that teach our younger generation to think critically and generate the skills to power future innovations.”

“BSA applauds Senators Rosen, Rounds, Blackburn, and Peters for their leadership in introducing the PROMOTES Act. This important legislation will support much needed STEM training and related activities within the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) program,” said BSA | The Software Alliance. “The JROTC program seeks to help bridge the gap in access to STEM education at JROTC high schools, which serve a diverse population. The grants authorized by this bill will provide students with skills that are critical for in-demand careers in cybersecurity and other STEM-related fields, boosting the US economy and national security.” 

BACKGROUND: In addition to being endorsed by Microsoft, the Intel Corporation, and BSA | The Software Alliance, The PROMOTES Act of 2020 is also endorsed by CSForALL, College Board, ITI, Code.org, and the Computing Technology Industry Association.

According to the U. S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are growing at 17 percent, while other occupations are growing at 9.8 percent. The Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act mandated the “instruction or activities in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics” within JROTC.

Specifically, the PROMOTES Act of 2020 would:

  • Authorize the Secretary of Defense to issue grants to schools for JROTC STEM training and education in order to fund support for instructors, the acquisition of materials, hardware, and software, efforts and events that improve the quality of the educational experience, the development of travel opportunities, mentoring programs, and informal education, and the pursuit of certifications in STEM subjects. 
  • Encourage cross-coordination between the Department of Defense, Department of Education, National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, other Federal, State, and local government entities, and private sector organizations as the Secretary of Defense determines to be appropriate.
  • Require the Secretary of Defense to establish outcome-based metrics and internal and external assessments in order to evaluate the merits and benefits of activities funded with these grants.

Last year, Senator Rosen’s Building Blocks of STEM Act – bipartisan legislation she introduced with Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) to create and expand upon STEM education initiatives at the National Science Foundation for young children and help increase the participation of girls in computer science – was signed into law by the President.

Senator Rosen has spearheaded numerous other bipartisan efforts to promote STEM education and workforce training in high tech fields, including:

  • The JROTC Cyber Training Act, bipartisan legislation Senator Rosen introduced last year alongside Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Gary Peters (D-MI) that would direct the Secretary of Defense to carry out a program to enhance the preparation of students in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) for careers in computer science and cybersecurity.
  • The Cyber Ready Workforce Act, bipartisan legislation Senator Rosen introduced last year alongside Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND). This bill would direct the U.S. Department of Labor to award grants to workforce intermediaries to support the creation, implementation, and expansion of registered apprenticeship programs in cybersecurity and; 
  • The Advanced Manufacturing Jobs in America Act (AMJA) bipartisan legislation Senator Rosen introduced in January alongside Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). This bill would direct the U.S. Department of Labor to begin pilot projects between local community colleges, state and tribal colleges, local boards, advanced manufacturers, and Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers, in order to facilitate education and training programs in the field of advanced manufacturing.

There are 35 high schools in Nevada with JROTC programs, with over 3,000 student members.

 ###

Issues