WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) was proud to provide an endorsement of the Minority Serving Institution (MSI) STEM Achievement Act (H.R. 437). The bill was introduced by Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Chairwoman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, along with Congressman Michael Waltz (R-FL). The MSI STEM Achievement Act was passed by the House of Representatives on December 10, 2019 and now moves to the Senate for consideration. The bill would expand and diversify the U.S. STEM workforce by requiring federal agencies and industries create competitive funding programs and initiatives from federal science agencies that are specifically targeted to minority institutions. Racial and ethnic minorities currently make up only 11% of the U.S. STEM workforce, while comprising 27% of the U.S. population.
“SACNAS is committed to fostering the success of populations that have been and continue to be excluded across all STEM fields, helping create access to advanced degrees, careers, and leadership positions. Therefore, we applaud Chairwoman Johnson and Congressman Waltz for introducing the Minority Serving Institution (MSI) STEM Achievement Act, a positive step forward towards our mission of achieving true diversity in STEM,” said Dr. Sonia Zárate, President of SACNAS.
Dr. Zárate also urged the Senate to pass this bold piece of bi-partisan legislation. “The U.S. STEM workforce will only benefit from the potential that diversity holds when there is an intentional and concerted effort. We need the support of policymakers as we do our part to build and strengthen a nationwide STEM enterprise that is both innovative and inclusive, and addresses our most pressing scientific problems,” she added.
According to the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, H.R. 4372 “directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support research to better understand the challenges minority-serving institutions (MSIs) face, their contributions to the STEM workforce, and effective approaches to enhancing their capacity to compete for funds.” The bill also ensures that federal science agencies are “actively engaging these institutions to help build their research competitiveness and create new opportunities for MSI students to pursue STEM careers.”
For over 46 years, SACNAS has served as an inclusive organization dedicated to fostering the success of Chicano/Hispanics & Native Americans, from college students to professionals, in attaining advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership within STEM.
Today, SACNAS serves a growing community of over 8,000 active members, 115+ student and professional chapters, and nearly 20,000 supporters and allies throughout the United States and territories. SACNAS influences the STEM diversity movement through STEM outreach & advocacy, promotion of STEM leaders, and The SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Conference. Learn more about SACNAS at sacnas.org, Facebook, or Twitter.