By Norberto Salinas, Senior Counsel and Director of Global Workforce Policy for Intel
The FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) became law on January 1 and includes a provision to significantly expand STEM education in the U.S. through the Providing Resources and Organization to Maximize Opportunities for Training and Education in STEM (PROMOTES) Act. The language authorizes a new grant program to increase the training and education of Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. However, the PROMOTES Act needed to be funded through the appropriations process to take effect this year.
Intel is pleased that Congress included $13 million in funding for JROTC STEM programs in the Omnibus package signed into law to fund the federal government through the end of FY2021. This funding includes $5 million for the Air Force JROTC, $3 million for the Army JROTC, $2.5 million for the Marine Corps JROTC and $2.5 for the Navy JROTC to carry out the new STEM programming. While short of the $20 million we had advocated for, it still represents a significant and new investment in the program.
The funding appropriated will be essential to supporting instructors; acquisition of materials, hardware, and software; efforts and events that improve the quality of the educational experience; development of travel opportunities; mentoring programs and informal education; and the pursuit of certifications in STEM subjects. This will also help prepare a diverse population of JROTC students with the necessary skills to develop future innovations and become the next generation of technologists.
Intel looks forward to working with our partners in the 117th Congress to further expand JROTC STEM education programming and strengthen industry and government efforts to diversify the future STEM workforce and fill the existing skills gap.