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WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Neal Dunn’s (FL-02) legislation to help veterans build STEM careers passed the House of Representatives. H.R. 425, the Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act, instructs the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a veterans’ outreach plan to connect them with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) job and educational opportunities. The NSF is required to include data on veterans’ involvement in these fields in its annual “Indicators” report, and to amend its Noyce Teacher Scholarship program, fellowship program, and cyber grant programs to include outreach to veterans. The legislation also charges the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy with assessing how to increase veteran participation in STEM career fields.

Dr. Dunn’s legislation passed the House last Congress, but was not passed by the Senate. This Congress, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

[Click the photo to view Dr. Dunn’s floor remarks.]

Dr. Dunn spoke on the House floor in support of his legislation this evening:

Thank you very much Mr. Speaker and thank you to my good friend from Oklahoma Mr. Lucas.

H.R. 425, the “Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act,” is about helping expand veterans’ job and education opportunities in the sciences.

The bill directs the National Science Foundation to develop a veterans’ outreach plan and publish data on veterans’ participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields in its annual “Indicators” report.

The bill also updates the NSF Noyce Teacher Scholarship program, fellowship programs, and cyber grant programs to include outreach to veterans.

Additionally, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is tasked with overseeing an interagency working group to examine how to increase veteran participation in STEM career fields, including addressing any barriers for service members and their spouses.

In the next five years, between 1 and 1.5 million members of the U.S. Armed Forces will separate from the military, according to the Department of Defense. Many of these veterans will be seeking new careers, and by a great margin, veterans cite finding employment as their number-one need when separating from Active Duty Service.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, occupations in STEM fields are projected to grow to more than 9 million jobs by 2022.

Research shows that many military veterans already have skills and training that align with STEM careers, particularly in Information Technology (IT). However, it also shows that veterans face many barriers as they re-enter the workforce, including a lack of formal certified STEM education, career guidance and the difficult task of transferring military credits to college credits.

Our nation’s veterans deserve every opportunity to transition to a rewarding and successful civilian life. This bill will help our service members to continue to serve our nation in new ways, by filling 21st century jobs and keeping America on the cutting edge of innovation.

I thank Congressman Lamb, a fellow member of the Science Committee and a Marine Corps veteran, for co-sponsoring this bipartisan legislation. And I salute my fellow veterans on the Science Committee who joined me in introducing this bill.

Last year, the House passed this legislation by an overwhelming margin, but we didn’t quite make it over the finish line in the Senate. This year, we have a bipartisan companion bill in the Senate introduced by my home state Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Amy Klobuchar. I believe now is the time to get this done, to help our nation’s veterans.

I urge my colleagues to pass this bill and for the Senate to act and send H.R. 425 to the President’s desk.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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