This week, Congressman David Scott (GA-13), Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee, was joined by Representatives Mark Takano (CA-41), Drew Ferguson (GA-03), and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) in announcing the reintroduction of H.R. 2475, the Making Advances Kinetic, Education, Research and Skills (MAKERS) Act of 2023.
The bipartisan MAKERS Act would direct the National Science Foundation to award research grants, prioritizing Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and community colleges, for purchasing technologies and equipment to outfit makerspaces. Makerspaces allow students a workplace to use innovative tools, such as 3D printers, sewing machines, digital production equipment, and more to explore and create.
“From developing a prototype to inventing the next new piece of technology, makerspaces allow students to experiment with hands-on equipment while learning the skills needed to excel in the STEM workforce,” said Congressman David Scott. “With this legislation, students will be able to learn a concept in the classroom and then put that concept to use in their schools’ makerspace, helping the student master the material from start to finish. I’m proud that my bipartisan bill embraces inclusion and hones in on diversifying the STEM field.”
“As one of the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Maker Caucus, I am proud to support the MAKERS Act in an effort to promote the development of makerspaces at HBCUs, MSIs, and community colleges,” said Congressman Mark Takano. “The maker movement is rapidly growing, and it’s important that we invest in the people and spaces that will be at the center of the creativity and forward-thinking innovation that will propel our economy and our technology into the 21st century. We must take these kinds of steps to assist in the formation of a truly STEAM-capable workforce.”
As technology continues to advance, investments must be made in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), particularly ensuring that students and workers of all backgrounds can be trained in these essential skills. Unfortunately, not every institute of higher education, including MSIs and community colleges, has the resources to construct a makerspace or fund repairs and modernizations. Furthermore, according to the National Science Foundation, research shows that Black and Hispanic workers are underrepresented in STEM jobs. Hispanic or Latino workers make up 18% of the U.S. workforce but represent 14% of STEM workers. Black or African American workers make up 12% of the U.S. working population but represent only 9% of STEM workers.
The text of the bill can be found here.