Congress may consider helping more young women move into STEM education
April 29, 2014
• Stockton congressman introduces bill
• “STEM careers can be personally and professionally rewarding”
Legislation that could help open STEM education to more young women has been introduced in Congress.
The bill establishes a program at the Department of Education to ensure that more female students participate in, and have access to, STEM education and vocational counseling. STEM is the acronym for science, technology, engineering and math programs.
(See link below to watch a CVBT video on STEM education in the Central Valley)
“I know from personal experience that STEM careers can be personally and professionally rewarding,” says Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, the author of the bill.
“We owe it to our young women to make sure they have access to the necessary education,” says Mr. McNerney, who is a mathematician and wind energy engineer. “When women succeed, we all succeed. With more women in STEM jobs, we’ll help grow our economy and make sure we’re competitive with the rest of the world.”
The program provides grants to local educational agencies that develop plans to encourage young women to study STEM, educate parents about STEM opportunities for their children, provide training and mentoring opportunities for students, and prepare secondary students for college STEM programs.
Data show that there is a growing gap in STEM-related education achievements between men and women, Mr. McNerney’s office says. While over half of all college degrees go to women in this country, they hold less than a quarter of STEM-related jobs.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM-related occupations are expected to expand faster than any other fields over the next decade. STEM jobs also provide economic security: In 2011, the unemployment rate was 4.1 percent for those in STEM-related jobs, while the overall unemployment rate was 8.9 percent.