01.02.20

ICYMI: Capito’s Bipartisan Building Blocks of STEM Act Signed Into Law

Capito’s legislation will help increase participation of young girls in STEM

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation, announced that last week, President Donald Trump signed her bipartisan Building Blocks of STEM Act into law. Senator Capito introduced the bill with Senator Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) earlier this year.

“For young women across the country, this bipartisan bill represents increased opportunities to explore STEM fields,” Senator Capito said. “As more tech companies invest in West Virginia, I want to make sure our workforce is ready to meet the challenges of this industry. I was proud to join my friend and colleague Senator Rosen in introducing this bill, and I’m proud to see President Trump sign it into law.”

“I couldn’t be prouder that this bipartisan piece of legislation that I’ve introduced is now law,”  Senator Rosen said. “This marks a massive leap forward for the opportunities that young girls will have in science, technology, engineering, and math. As a former computer programmer, I introduced this bipartisan bill to help break down the gender barriers that I faced as a woman in STEM for current and future generations. I will continue working in Congress on forward-thinking legislation that equips our students with the tools they need to succeed in their scientific and technological pursuits.”

BACKGROUND:

Studies have found that children who engage in scientific activities from an early age develop positive attitudes toward science and are more likely to pursue STEM expertise and careers later on.

In March, Senator Capito introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Building Blocks of STEM Act, S. 737, alongside Senators Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.). The bill 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.

The bipartisan Building Blocks of STEM Act would direct National Science Foundation (NSF) to more equitably distribute funding for early childhood education in its Discovery Research PreK-12 program, which seeks to enhance the learning and teaching of STEM and address the immediate challenges that are facing PreK-12 STEM education. Currently, the Discovery Research PreK-12 program focuses the majority of its research on students in middle school and older. This year’s Senate bill also includes Senator Capito’s bipartisan Code Like a Girl Act, which would direct NSF to award research grants to increase understanding of the factors that contribute to the participation of young girls in STEM activities and to develop interventions in pre-K and elementary school classrooms to increase the participation of young girls in computer science.

The Building Blocks of STEM Act is endorsed by Girl Scouts of the USA, Save the Children Action Network, American Association of University Women (AAUW), National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE), National Organization for Women, Stop Sexual Assault in Schools (SSAIS), Girls, Inc., BSA The Software Alliance, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Code.org, BlackRidge Technology, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), Third Way, Center for Excellence in Education (CEE), CompTIA, TechNet, Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), Common Sense Kids Action, ISACA, Girls Who Code, and Microsoft. 

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