Moran’s bill aims to develop America’s AI workforce of the future

To help find strategies to educate one million or more American workers on artificial intelligence (AI) by 2028, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) on May 22 cosponsored a bipartisan bill that would support National Science Foundation (NSF) AI education and professional development opportunities.

“Artificial intelligence has tremendous potential, but it will require a skilled and capable workforce to unlock its capabilities,” Sen. Moran said. “If we want to fully understand AI and remain globally competitive, we must invest in the future workforce today.”

The NSF AI Education Act of 2024, S. 4394, which is sponsored by U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), would expand scholarship and professional development opportunities to study AI with support from the NSF, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. Moran’s staff.

Specifically, S. 4394 would boost educational and professional development opportunities to create AI and quantum leaders by authorizing the NSF to award undergraduate and graduate scholarships for students to study all aspects of AI, and to establish scholarships for future educators, farmers, and those in advanced manufacturing to study AI, the summary says.

Additionally, the bill would provide professional development opportunities for current educators and STEM workers, and leverage financial support from the private sector to support the NSF scholarships and fellowships authorized by S. 4394.

“This legislation takes an all-of-the-above approach, investing in STEM education, fellowships and hands-on-learning from kindergarten to college for students in rural areas, at community colleges and from low-income homes,” said Sen. Moran. “Inspiration to explore and the resources to learn will help make certain the U.S. is an AI leader in the next century.”

Among several other provisions, the measure would provide fellowships and scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students for quantum information science, engineering and technology, and would authorize the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, in collaboration with the NSF, to make grants for AI research, development and training in agriculture through Land-Grant Universities and the Cooperative Extension Service to reach rural communities, according to the bill summary.

“The emerging tech jobs of tomorrow are here today,” said Sen. Cantwell. “This bill will open doors to AI for students at all levels, and upskill our workforce to drive American tech innovation, entrepreneurship and progress in solving the toughest global challenges.”

The bill is supported by Microsoft, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Garden City Community College, and Wichita State University.