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Bill F.
Democrat IL 11

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  • Academic Competition Resolution of 2013

    by Representative Bill Foster

    Posted on 2013-02-26

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    FOSTER. 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 twentieth 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.

    Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H. Res. 77, the Academic Competition Resolution of 2013. For years, the annual art competition sponsored by the U.S. House of Representatives recognizes imaginative high school students from every congressional district in the United States. Like the congressional art competition, H. Res. 77 establishes an academic competition in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to be held each year among students in each congressional district across the country.

    It is just and appropriate for the United States House of Representatives to incentivize STEM education by highlighting outstanding youth across our country who are excelling in these disciplines. The highest growth sectors, such as information technology, require a workforce proficient in STEM. Producing students with the STEM skills needed to fill the jobs of the future is necessary to maintaining [[Page H647]] our nation's innovation capacity and creating new high-skill, high- paying jobs at home. As Ranking Member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, I know that to strengthen our nation's technological workforce and infrastructure we must encourage and incentivize STEM education.

    Mr. Speaker, as we rise in support of H. Res. 77 to encourage STEM education and American innovation, with the fiscal cliff looming I would be remiss if I did not warn against cutting our critical federal R&D investments. As we struggle with our own deficits, we too can make the strategic choice to continue to invest in our future--both in our human capital and physical infrastructure--or we can make the strategic choice to permanently cede our leadership, to fail our current generation of young people, and to put our economy in a state of stagnation for years to come. It is when our economy is hurting the most that we should be redoubling our efforts to innovate our way into a brighter future of new jobs, new technologies, and untold societal benefits.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the gentlewoman from Michigan (Mrs. Miller) that the House suspend the rules and agree to the resolution, H. Res. 77.

    The question was taken.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.

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