Klobuchar, Heller Introduce Legislation to Recruit and Support Women in STEM Fields | NAWBO

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Klobuchar, Heller Introduce Legislation to Recruit and Support Women in STEM Fields

WASHINGTON, DC – January 13, 2017  A recent report by the Department of Commerce’s Economics and Statistics Administration shows that women make up roughly half of the labor force, but less than a quarter of the workforce in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines

Klobuchar and Heller’s bipartisan legislation would build on existing efforts by the National Science Foundation to increase women’s participation in STEM education and research by expanding those efforts to help recruit and support women in STEM fields as they commercialize their research.

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) have introduced legislation to recruit and support women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. A recent report by the Department of Commerce’s Economics and Statistics Administration shows that women make up roughly half of the labor force, but less than a quarter of the workforce in STEM disciplines. Klobuchar and Heller’s bipartisan Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act of 2017 would build on existing efforts by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to increase women’s participation in STEM education and research by expanding those efforts to help recruit and support women in STEM fields as they commercialize their research.

“To stay competitive in the 21st century economy, we need a 21st century workforce,” said Klobuchar. “Supporting more women inventors and making it easier for them to get their inventions to market means more high-tech, high-wage jobs for all workers.”

“With numerous technology-based companies and startup companies growing their presence in the state of Nevada, there’s no better time to encourage more women to pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This legislation partners with the National Science Foundation to increase women’s participation in these high-demand careers and ensure their entrepreneurship and innovations succeed. I’d like to thank Senator Klobuchar for her shared commitment to this very important issue,” said Heller.

"We are pleased to lend our support to the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act, introduced by Senators Klobuchar and Heller," said Teresa Meares, National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) National Board Chair.  "NAWBO was founded in 1975 to advocate on behalf of all women entrepreneurs.  Our founders and subsequent leaders opened up and expanded opportunities for women business owners in all sectors, of all sizes and in all stages of business development.  It is our honor to continue that legacy today.  The STEM fields represent an opportunity for even more women to expand and pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.  We know that when women do well, our overall economy does well.  We applaud the Senators for introducing this legislation and for their consistent support of women entrepreneurs."

The Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act amends the Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act to authorize the NSF to encourage its entrepreneurial programs to recruit and support women to extend their focus beyond the laboratory into the commercial world. Representative Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) has introduced companion legislation in the House, which passed earlier this week. 

Klobuchar has been in a leader in the effort to develop a strong science and engineering workforce ready for the jobs of tomorrow. Earlier this month, Klobuchar’s provisions to require the Director of the NSF to consider recommendations from organizations representing underrepresented groups for the STEM Education Advisory Panel and allow for research to better understand factors relevant to the retention of STEM teachers from underrepresented groups, including women and minorities, were signed into law by the president in the reauthorization of the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Act. She was a strong supporter of the America COMPETES Act of 2007 and the reauthorization of the law in 2010. Klobuchar also introduced the Innovate America Act to promote innovation and increase America’s competitiveness in the global economy. Klobuchar is also one of the founding co-chairs of the Diversifying Technology Caucus and co-chair of the Women’s High Tech Coalition.

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