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Rep. Foster Statement On STEM Academic Competition

Feb 26, 2013
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Bill Foster (IL-11) voted in favor of House Resolution 77, the Academic Competition Resolution of 2013 which creates a national academic competition for stem fields.

Before the vote, Foster introduced the following statement to the House record:

Mr. Speaker,

I rise today in support of House Resolution 77, the Academic Competition Resolution of 2013.

As a businessman, manufacturer and physicist, I know how important it is that we support STEM education. Throughout the twenty-first century, American-led advancements in the STEM fields have driven forward our collective human understanding of the universe and strengthened the American economy.

The future of the American economy will depend on our ability to prepare graduates for work in STEM-related fields. Last year, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology estimated that for the U.S. to maintain its position at the forefront of STEM fields, we will need to increase the number of American STEM graduates by one million students over the next decade.

The economic crisis has further highlighted the importance of STEM education, as the STEM fields weathered the downturn better than most. As the Joint Economic Committee on STEM education points out, the unemployment rate among STEM workers never surpassed 5.5% during the crisis, while unemployment in non-STEM fields grew to almost 10% in 2010. STEM workers also enjoy higher average wages than their non-STEM counterparts.

A congressionally-sponsored academic competition in the STEM fields will generate enthusiasm in this burgeoning field and provide an opportunity for students to work on meaningful, hands-on projects. Congress must do more to support educational initiatives that will prepare our students for participation in a dynamic, global economy, and sponsoring a STEM competition is a small step in the right direction.