STEAM Day of Action Highlights Bipartisanship, HBCUs & Diversity in the Workforce

Washington, D.C.—Today, the Bipartisan Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Caucus and the Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) Caucus hosted the first HBCU STEAM Day of Action on Capitol Hill. This unique event brought HBCU presidents and administrators from thirty-four schools and industry leaders to Capitol Hill to meet with key Members of Congress and senior staff from both parties and in both chambers. The meetings allowed the coalition to advocate for bipartisan priorities impacting HBCUs and increased efforts to diversify our workforce. These priorities include increased resources for 1890 land-grant universities through the Farm Bill, reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, STEM initiatives, and appropriations.

The coalition met with the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, House Education and Workforce Committee, House Agriculture Committee, House Energy and Commerce Committee, Representative Alma Adams (D-NC), Representative Will Hurd (R-TX), Representative French Hill (R-AR), Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson(D-TX), and Representative Bradley Byrne (R-AL).

“Today is a historic day as HBCUs and tech combined forces for the first time to advocate in Congress on bipartisan priorities impacting HBCUs and the students they serve,” said Congresswoman Alma Adams, co-chair of the Bipartisan HBCU Caucus. “HBCUs graduate top minority talent, including more than 40% of African American engineers-we cannot diversify our workforce without their inclusion. Despite this fact, HBCUs are not receiving equal resources and opportunities as their peer institutions. The Bipartisan HBCU Caucus is proud to host the first ever HBCU STEAM Day of Action to push for bipartisan legislation to continue fighting for increased resources for our schools and 21st century opportunities for all."

“The federal government has an obligation to ensure that current and future federal higher education programs and policies account for the unique position of HBCUs. Instead of punishing institutions that have made a historic commitment to providing equitable access to higher education, the government should work to strengthen these institutions and ensure they are positioned to continue this important legacy. We must work to make sure that the children of today are the HBCU STEAM graduates of tomorrow,” said Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03).

“We must continue to improve and encourage STEAM education degree attainment and create opportunities in the tech workforce, especially for African Americans and other underrepresented students. HBCUs are critical to meeting this challenge for African Americans,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, co-chair and co-founder of the bipartisan STEAM Caucus. “Integrating arts and design into science, technology, engineering, and math engages more students, especially historically underrepresented populations such as women and minority students. Activating both sides of the brain prepares students to be innovative and creative, both critical skills for success in 21st Century jobs. Employers are already seeing the power of turning STEM to STEAM. Congress must recognize the importance of STEAM to best prepare students for success in and after school.”

“As our economy continues to change and grow, we need to ensure we’re preparing our students and workers for 21st century jobs, and that must include increasing investments in STEAM education,” said Senator Murray, ranking member of the Senate HELP Committee. “As the Senate works to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, I’ve made it clear that we need to do more to support and expand opportunities for students of color—so I’m proud to participate in the first-ever HBCU STEAM Day of Action, and I will continue to push for increased support and investments in HBCUs, and the students they serve.”

“Historically Black Colleges and Universities have a rich history in Tennessee and across our country,” said Senator Lamar Alexander, Chairman of the Senate Help Committee. “These institutions provide a valuable education to students and play an important role in our higher education system. I look forward to continuing our bipartisan history of support for HBCUs as we work to reauthorize the Higher Education Act this year.”

“For generations, HBCUs have offered minority and low-income students the chance to achieve their dreams,” Senator Tim Scott said. “The HBCU Steam Day of Action is an important avenue to raise awareness of both the amazing work already being done at our HBCUs and how we can continue our work to strengthen them for the future.”

“I was happy to help host HBCU leadership in Washington and discuss their agriculture and technology policy priorities,” said Rep. Collin Peterson (MN-7). “I wish the HBCUs and their students continued success and look forward to working with them as the 2018 Farm Bill process moves forward.”

“Ensuring access to educational opportunities for all Americans, regardless of race, will strengthen and grow the economy, drive technological advancement and innovation across every industry, and allow citizens to overcome socioeconomic challenges that are influenced by education inequality,” said Rep. Will Hurd (TX-23). “This is why we must work together to increase access to and diversity of STEM education in particular, to cultivate our nation’s leadership in science and technology for generations to come.”

The STEAM Day of Action also included a breakfast meet and greet with Bipartisan HBCU Caucus members and a diversity initiative announcement by Lyft, a panel and luncheon focused on diversifying our workforce hosted by Intel, and an evening reception hosted by Google. The panel hosted by Intel included the following participants: Barbara Whye, Vice President of Human Resources & Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Intel Corporation, Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX), Dr. Larry Robinson, President of Florida A&M University, Veronica Nelson, Executive Director at Advancing Minorities’ Interest in Engineering, and moderator Tiffany Moore, Vice President of Congressional Affairs at CTA.

Press Contact

Hailey Barringer, (202) 225-1510