INSPIRES Act Introduced to Update School STEM Facilities
U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) introduced the Inspiring New STEM Professionals by Investing in Renovation of Education Spaces (INSPIRES) Act. The INSPIRES Act would increase educational and career opportunities for students attending rural and remote middle and high schools, community colleges, and other education institutions by providing funds to modernize, renovate, or repair STEM facilities.
“We are continuing to see STEM job growth outpace all others, but because of a lack of resources, rural and remote schools have a harder time keeping up with the demand,” said Sen. Schatz. “The federal government can do more to help local governments provide better learning environments to help students achieve their full potential. The INSPIRES Act would give schools resources to modernize their facilities and expand access to STEM education so that our students have greater opportunities to succeed.”
“With our global competitors investing in STEM, it’s critical that we ensure American students have the resources they need to remain competitive,” said Sen. Brown. “This bill will help empower our students to become the next generation of researchers, statisticians, and engineers.”
With the STEM job market expected to continue its rapid growth, the INSPIRES Act aims to improve the quality and availability of STEM and career and technical education instruction by providing grants to rural and Native-serving local educational agencies (LEAs) and community colleges for improvements to facilities.
Organizations endorsing the INSPIRES Act include the American Association of Physics Teachers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Association of Community Colleges, and the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE).
“NSPE applauds Sen. Schatz and Sen. Brown for recognizing the importance of STEM education and authoring the INSPIRES Act, which provides much-needed funding for schools to build robust STEM-learning environments,” said Michael Aitken, president of the National Society of Professional Engineers. “The INSPIRES Act will provide students who exhibit a talent for, or an interest in, engineering with additional opportunities for focused learning, and enable educators to encourage and inspire the next generation of professional engineers.”
“A fundamental knowledge of physics is critical for future success in technical and scientific careers,” said Dr. Beth Cunningham, the executive officer of the American Association of Physics Teachers. “The INSPIRES Act will enable physics teachers to use the latest technology to excite and engage students, and improve the learning and comprehension of physics, specifically among traditionally underrepresented groups. For these reasons, the American Association of Physics Teachers offers its full endorsement of the act.”