(WASHINGTON) – Reps. Jim Banks (R-IN) and Andy Kim (D-NJ) introduced a bill today establishing a STEM Corps to enhance the STEM and computer science workforce of the Department of Defense (DoD) and defense industry.
The STEM Corps will be a new program under the Secretary of Defense to provide financial support to students in the STEM fields with computer science backgrounds.
In exchange for tuition coverage for two years, participants will serve four years with the DOD, including an internship with an industry sponsor and an option to serve the fourth year of the program with an industry partner.
Participants will be required to maintain a GPA standard and hold a security clearance.
“The Department of Defense and defense industry face a critical STEM workforce shortage. We need attract and recruit young STEM and computer science-oriented staff to work on cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and other critical projects to create a more technologically agile national security workforce.” said Banks. “To win the war for talent and maintain our technological advantage around the globe, the United States must implement ideas like a STEM Corps to develop and retain a talent pool. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation with Rep. Andy Kim, a fellow commissioner of the Reagan Institute’s Task Force on 21st Century National Security and Technology and Workforce.”
“Being ready for the challenges of tomorrow requires investing in talent and training today,” said Rep. Kim. “This program doesn’t just ensure America will continue as a world leader in scientific advancements and military readiness, it will offer much-needed opportunities for young people at a time when their economic future has never been more insecure. I’m proud to work alongside Congressman Banks to introduce this bill, and look forward to seeing it pass into law.”
The idea for a national STEM Corps was recommended by the Reagan Institute’s Task Force on 21st Century National Security Technology and Workforce report. Both Rep. Banks and Rep. Kim served as Commissioners on that task force.
“As the Reagan Institute Task Force report makes clear, the war for talent will play a central role in determining the outcome of long-term technological competition with a rising China. Creating the STEM Corps will help the U.S. government attract the best and brightest technical talent to tackle tough challenges and find innovative solutions,” said Roger Zakheim, Director of the Ronald Reagan Institute
An excerpt from the Reagan Institute’s Task Force report:
Congress should authorize the creation of a new national civilian “STEM Corps” modeled after the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and the National Guard. Students would be selected through a competitive process to receive full tuition to attend public universities and study specified disciplines related to national security technology. In return for accepting the scholarship, graduates would commit to spending several years serving in either the “active” or “reserve” STEM Corps, working within a component of the NSIB ecosystem. The “active” component of the STEM Corps would include graduates working full-time in designated government and DOD billets.