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House Unanimously Passes Waltz Bill to Improve Minority Stem Opportunities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Monday, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill by Reps. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) to improve STEM participation and opportunities for students at minority-serving institutions (MSIs).

H.R. 4372, the MSI STEM Achievement Act, would increase capacity for students in STEM curricula, encourage partnerships with industry and federal laboratories and establish liaisons for MSIs within federal science agencies. The bill also directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Government Accountability Office (GAO) to better understand the challenges facing MSIs in STEM recruitment and retention. The bill would focus federal engagement with MSIs on building research competitiveness and creating opportunities for minority students to pursue STEM careers.

“Minorities make up 27 percent of the U.S. population but are severely underrepresented in STEM fields, only accounting for 11 percent of the STEM workforce,” Waltz said. “Minority-serving institutions like Bethune-Cookman University in my district are key to improving participation and retention in STEM fields. Investing in STEM institutions that educate underrepresented populations will create a larger, more diverse STEM talent pool to fill the jobs we need to and make our country more competitive, including here in Florida’s Space Triangle.”

“Minority serving institutions have a long record of success in recruiting, retaining and graduating underrepresented minority students in STEM,” said Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Chairwoman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. “However, more investment and outreach is needed to enable MSIs to realize their potential. The MSI STEM Achievement Act ensures that Federal STEM education and research funding opportunities are more accessible to MSIs.”

To view the bill, click here.