Congressman Dan Kildee Introduces Legislation Aiming to Increase Women Participation in STEM Jobs
Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) today introduced legislation to increase the percentage of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) occupations in Michigan and across America. STEM jobs, including professional and technical support occupations in the fields of computer science, mathematics, engineering and life and physical sciences, are growing nearly three times as fast as non-STEM jobs in the U.S. according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Congressman Kildee’s legislation, The Promoting Women in STEM Act, would require existing state programs funded by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (Perkins) Act to include programs that increase participation of women in STEM fields. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, women represent about half of the U.S. workforce, but only make up 24 percent of STEM workers.
“Closing the gender gap in STEM is critical to growing our economy. Women make up half of America’s work force, but only 26 percent of STEM workers are women. We must ensure programs are readily available encouraging women to seek out STEM courses and be a part of this growing sector of our economy,” said Congressman Kildee. “Not only are STEM jobs outpacing other occupations, but those who work in STEM are paid more compared to other jobs. These are good-paying jobs that are critical to our country’s competitiveness. We must make sure that we have workers, both men and women, ready for these jobs in the global economy.”
The Perkins Act, first passed by Congress in 1984, provides funding to states for secondary and post-secondary career and technical education (CTE) programs. When the legislation was reauthorized in 2006, Congress missed an opportunity to include programs supporting women in STEM. Congressman Kildee’s legislation would fill this gap.
The future of the U.S. economy and standing as a global leader relies on our country’s competitiveness in STEM jobs. Over the past decade, STEM jobs grew three times as fast as non-STEM jobs. It is reported that the demand for STEM jobs will grow 17 percent by 2024, and that 1.2 million jobs in STEM will go unfilled next year.