Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District spoke on the House floor today in support of a bipartisan amendment he offered with a number of his colleagues to establish a grant program at the National Science Foundation to support STEM education at Hispanic Serving Institutions.
Below are Luján’s remarks on the amendment, which passed unanimously. Click here to watch his speech.
“Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of this amendment that I am proud to offer with my colleagues. I want to thank Congressman Crowley for his leadership; I want to recognize Chairman Smith for his responsibility and working and looking after these students as well.
“In today’s world a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math degree translates into high-paying, in-demand jobs. While we are still struggling with high unemployment in my home state of New Mexico, there are sectors – especially in STEM – that are having difficulty finding qualified workers.
“To help meet this demand the National Science Foundation manages a number of programs at Minority Serving Institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Tribal Colleges and Universities. These programs have filled an important void by preparing minority students for meaningful careers in STEM.
“However there is no such program, and therefore a lack of critical support, for Hispanic Americans. This is also evident in the fact that Hispanics are severely underrepresented in the STEM workforce. It is time that we fund the creation of a program for Hispanic Serving Institutions to develop infrastructure, curriculum, and recruit Hispanic Students into STEM fields. To do what’s best for America we need to invest and promote these programs.”