Florida Rep. Michael Waltz (R) took to the House floor this week to champion the MSI STEM Achievement Act. The bill, introduced by Waltz, the Ranking Member of the Technology Subcommittee and Texas Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D), the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee, has the goal of advancing STEM curriculum and workforce development at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) like Daytona Beach’s Bethune-Cookman University. This is to meet the growing demand of the STEM workforce.
When the bill was introduced in mid-March, Johnson explained that “the challenges we face today demand a dramatic expansion of the STEM workforce, one that is inclusive of talented students of all races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds.” “The way I see it, we have two possible futures: one in which we rise to the moment and leverage all of our human capital, and one in which our capacity for innovation and our standing in the world continue to erode,” Johnson continued before affirming that she knows the “future I want to see happen.”
Waltz echoed in her remarks, saying that “minorities continue to be badly underrepresented among the STEM workforce and Congress has an obligation to find solutions to increase representation in fields that are pivotal to economic competitiveness and national security.”
Elaborating on the concern, Waltz warned that “over the next decade, the STEM shortage is anticipated to reach one million professionals and a stronger national commitment to increasing diversity in the STEM workforce is needed to help address this glaring skills shortage.”
The Green Beret expanded on his support for the bill while speaking to his colleagues on the House floor.
“Minorities make up 30% of the U.S. population, but nationwide we are seeing a gap in minority representation in STEM fields,” Waltz commented after being called an “activist” on the concern.
“Believe it or not, minorities only account for 11% of the STEM workforce,” Waltz informed, hoping to enlist some bipartisan support in getting the bill to President Joe Biden’s (D) desk.