Swalwell Reintroduces Bill to Improve Access to STEM Fields
WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15) today introduced H.R. 5962, the STEM K to Career Act to create a ladder to success for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) students and professionals across the country.
The legislation would offer federal student loan relief to STEM teachers, provide tax credits to certain employers that provide internships or apprenticeships in the STEM field, and amend the federal Work Study program to offer more STEM opportunities.
“Every American – children and adults -- should be equipped with the tools they need to succeed in the innovation economy,” said Swalwell. “As students across the nation graduate from high school and college, we must consider the steps we must take to ensure such success. The STEM K to Career Act takes one significant step in that direction. It gives students, teachers, and small businesses a needed boost to help tackle the digital divide and ensure all have access to the STEM fields that are driving the 21st century economy.”
Original cosponsors of this legislation include Reps. Jerry McNerney (CA-09), Marc Veasey (TX-33), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), and Dina Titus (NV-01). Swalwell previously had introduced this legislation in the 114th Congress.
Specifically, the legislation makes five important changes to federal STEM policy:
- Provides federal loan forgiveness to STEM elementary and secondary education teachers. To qualify, the teacher must work in a not-for-profit low-income school as defined by the Department of Education.
- Permanently extends the $250 tax credit for teachers’ school supplies and adds an additional tax credit for STEM education supplies for teachers of up to $250, adjusted for inflation.
- Provides employers with fewer than 500 employees a tax credit of up to $2,000 for each paid STEM intern employed.
- Provides employers with fewer than 500 employees a tax credit of up to $2,000 for each new STEM apprentice, $3,000 for a STEM mid-career or unemployed apprentice, and $5,000 in the case that a STEM apprentice is hired by the company for at least a year following the Department of Labor approved apprenticeship.
- Requires schools participating in the Federal Work Study program to use at least 7 percent of work study funds to compensate students working in STEM jobs.