JROTC Bill A Step Toward a More Diverse STEM Workforce

By Lisa Malloy, Head of U.S. Government Relations, Intel

 

Last week, Representatives Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX), Rob Bishop (UT-01), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Conor Lamb (PA-17) and Michael Waltz (FL-06) took an important step to help our government secure critical skills needed for the jobs of the future by introducing the JROTC Cyber Training Act, legislation to create a Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) Computer Science and Cybersecurity Program. The program would train and prepare JROTC students for a bright future in computer science and cybersecurity careers through targeted internships and cooperative research opportunities at defense laboratories and other technical centers.

This bill is central to the education and development of the future U.S. workforce, which will ultimately lead the launch of the world’s next moonshot. The Junior ROTC program is a strong pathway for developing a diverse workforce. It serves almost 500,000 secondary students, most of whom are underrepresented minorities and economically disadvantaged, and female cadets make up 40% of program participants.

Recently, Intel’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer and Vice President of HR Barbara Whye testified before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on achieving the promise of a diverse STEM workforce. Whye shared how Intel has been able to achieve a more diverse workforce through the development of clear diversity hiring goals while working to retain employees through comprehensive strategies. Intel is working to develop the next generation of scientists, mathematicians and cybersecurity professionals through the implementation of programs like She Will Connect U.S.

We live in an interconnected and rapidly changing world where diversity, inclusion and racial equity practices must be a core aspect of hiring and retention, shaping business practices, product development and innovation. We greatly appreciate Congressional leadership on this issue, which was suggested in Whye’s testimony during the recent hearing. Efforts like the JROTC Cyber Training Act are central to growing a diverse STEM pipeline and ensuring a bright, STEM-filled future.