Blackburn proposes STEM education bill for junior ROTC students

U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) on June 4 introduced a bipartisan bill that would direct the U.S. Defense Secretary to carry out a grant program to support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC).

“The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted our dire need to decrease our reliance on key foreign imports, including and especially when it comes to technology,” said Sen. Blackburn. “Companies across the country are in need of highly skilled workers. This bill will help to grow our STEM workforce to give Tennesseans the training necessary to compete in the 21st century landscape.”

Sen. Blackburn is an original cosponsor of the Providing Resources and Organization to Maximize Opportunities for Training and Education in STEM (PROMOTES) Act of 2020, S. 3900, with bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and cosponsor U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD). Companion legislation, the same-named H.R. 6661, was introduced on May 1 by U.S. Reps. Anthony Brown (D-MD) and Michael Waltz (R-FL) in their chamber. The bill has 11 other cosponsors.

If enacted, S. 3900 would authorize the Secretary of Defense to issue grants to schools for JROTC STEM training and education toward funding support for instructors, materials, hardware and software, efforts and events that improve the quality of the educational experience, the development of travel opportunities, mentoring programs, and the pursuit of certifications in STEM subjects, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. Blackburn’s office.

Additionally, S. 3900 would encourage cross-coordination between the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and other federal, state, and local government entities, and private-sector organizations, according to the summary.

The measure is supported by Microsoft, BSA | The Software Alliance, Intel Corp., CSForALL, the College Board, ITI,, and the Computing Technology Industry Association.