Dean Heller

09/05/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/05/2018 13:59

U.S. Senate Committee Approves Heller Bill to Help Nevada Veterans Pursue Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

Heller Has Navigated Into Law More than 40 Pieces of Legislation to Help Nevada's Veterans

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee today passed the Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act, legislation that U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) authored to help Nevada's veterans pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. A senior member of the U.S. Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee and a strong advocate for Nevada's 300,000 veterans, Heller has a long record of introducing and navigating into law legislation that bolsters and expands veterans' education benefits and increases their access to critical job-training skills. In total, more than 40 pieces of veteran legislation that Heller has authored or helped introduce have been signed into law.

Specifically, the Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act would modify certain National Science Foundation (NSF) STEM research and education programs to enable and encourage veterans to participate in these programs. The legislation also directs NSF to create a plan to strengthen outreach about STEM opportunities to veterans, and directs the establishment or designation of an interagency working group to coordinate and develop activities and programs to increase the number of veterans pursuing education related to STEM careers.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM employment opportunities are expected to increase to more than nine million by 2022. Furthermore, as the Department of Defense expects 1.5 million members of the U.S. Armed Forces to transition out of service in the next five years, service members need to be prepared to meet the workforce needs of U.S. employers so they can pursue stable, competitive job opportunities. STEM careers afford that opportunity and align well with many skills obtained through various military occupations, such as a military radio or satellite operators becoming electrical engineering technicians or a military intelligence officer becoming an information security analyst. However, veterans also face challenges as they re-enter the workforce, including a lack of formal STEM education and career guidance for these fields.

'As a senior member of the U.S. Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, I am committed to passing legislation into law that creates meaningful job opportunities for our nation's veterans,' said Heller. 'With the influx of drones, autonomous and electric vehicles, and other technology companies in Nevada, there continues to be a high demand for individuals to meet STEM specific job requirements. The Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act addresses this need by offering an effective partnership between veterans and career opportunities throughout the state. I look forward to supporting this critical legislation through the U.S. Senate and working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to send it to the President's desk.'

Heller, who is also a member U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, has consistently promoted STEM education programs and has worked to provide additional career opportunities for veterans in Nevada. For example, at the beginning of this year, Heller encouraged the VA to increase efforts to help veterans find employment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. Just a few weeks ago, the U.S. Senate passed a provision that Heller authored to help members of the Armed Forces who are transitioning back to civilian life by ensuring $2 million is available to support apprenticeship programs.

As an advocate for women in STEM fields, Heller also helped navigate into law bipartisan legislation that seeks to encourage women to pursue and succeed in STEM careers. The Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act and the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act were signed into law in February of last year to encourage young women to pursue innovative, technological developments and to ensure entrepreneurial success of women's STEM innovations.

The Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act is supported by the Association of the United States Navy, the Blinded Veterans Association, Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Retired Enlisted Association, Marine Corps League, Student Veterans of America, and the STEM Education Coalition. Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S House of Representatives by Representatives Neal Dunn (R-FL), Mark Takano (D-CA), Lamar Smith (R-TX), Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), Brian Babin (R-TX), Stephen Knight (R-CA), Roger Marshall (R-KS), and Jim Banks (R-IN), and the U.S. House of Representatives passed it by a vote of 420-1