Congressman Bill Foster

Representing the 11th District of Illinois

Rep. Foster Introduces Legislation To Prepare Students For 21st Century STEM Jobs

May 23, 2013
Press Release

Washington, DCWashington, DC—Today, Congressman Bill Foster (IL-11) introduced the 21st Century STEM Competitive Jobs Act, along with Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-2), Rep. Anna Eshoo (CA-14), Rep. Elizabeth Esty (CT-5), Joe Kennedy (MA-4), Rep. Jim Langevin (RI-2), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), Rep. Jim McGovern (MA-2), Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod (CA-35), Rep. Jared Polis (CO-2), Rep. Tim Ryan (OH-13) and Rep. Louise Slaughter (NY-25).

This legislation would help prepare students for careers in high-demand technical fields by supporting collaboration between schools and employers. 

“The 21st Century STEM Competitive Jobs Act will incentivize school districts to provide students with the skills they need to be successful in the workplace,” said Foster.  “Despite high unemployment levels, many employers tell me they can’t fill jobs because they can’t find workers with the training and education they need. This legislation would help bridge that gap.”

“Education is critical for success in today’s global economy, and matching the next generation of Americans with the skills our workforce needs is a vital piece of the puzzle,” said Congressman Courtney. “This legislation will fuel continued growth in fields like engineering, science and manufacturing—areas that produce good jobs up front and new opportunities down the road.”

You can view the full legislation here.

The science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields drive our nation’s innovation and competitiveness by generating new ideas, new companies and new industries. However, over the past 10 years, the number of STEM jobs has grown three times faster than non-STEM jobs. It is clear we should do more to encourage students to pursue careers in the STEM fields.

This legislation would provide competitive grants to school districts that connect students and their coursework with future employers. In order to receive a grant, a school district must work with a local, regional, or national employer and an institution of higher education to develop the curriculum and program metrics. In addition, every program must include an internship or apprenticeship component, and must also be dual-credit so that students receive both high school and college credit for their coursework.  Providing students with workplace experience and college credit will improve their ability to compete in the workplace while encouraging them to continue their education.