Bill Would Create Incentives for Businesses to Fill STEM Jobs with Mid-Career Workers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Jackie Rosen (D-Nevada), and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.)  today reintroduced bipartisan legislation to provide funding to support mid-career internships, known as “returnships,” for workers seeking to return to or transition into the STEM workforce.

The STEM Restoring Employment Skills through Targeted Assistance, Re-entry, and Training (RESTART) Act would improve overall coordination between in-demand industries, workforce boards, and schools to help mid-career workers seeking to return or transition into the STEM workforce.

“STEM education is invaluable in opening doors for talented workers who want to enter or re-enter the workforce,” Senator Hyde-Smith said.  “As we work to grow and diversify our economy, the STEM Restart Act will help do just that by connecting hard-working Americans searching for jobs with small and medium-sized businesses looking to fill them.”

“When we invest in STEM education and workforce development, we can open the door to successful careers,” said Senator Rosen.  “Our bipartisan legislation will help support American workers looking to enter STEM fields for the first time or transition back into this field.  By expanding these opportunities, we can help fill good-paying jobs with highly qualified workers.

“Arizona is benefitting greatly from the CHIPS Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, with new projects and investments being announced every month.  We have a ton of jobs that need to be filled in STEM and we need a workforce that is prepared to fill these jobs.  The bipartisan STEM RESTART Act will help us not only prepare this workforce, but will help our country continue to be at the forefront of scientific innovation,” said Senator Kelly.

The STEM RESTART Act would provide small and medium-sized businesses with funding for robust, paid, mid-career internships, known as “returnships,” for workers looking to return to work or transition to a new STEM career, with priority for underrepresented populations and rural areas.

Studies show that mid-career internships or “returnships” effectively address the difficulties of former STEM employees seeking to return to work in in-demand industries.  These programs provide opportunities for mentorship, professional development, and support as participants transition back to work and advance in their careers.

Mississippi workforce and community college boards have been focusing efforts on recruiting and training displaced, adult workers into higher-skilled and better paying jobs and strongly endorse this bill.  It is also supported by the STEM Education Coalition, Society of Women Engineers, AnitaB.org, and others.

Representatives Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.) and Jim Baird (R-Ind.) will introduce identical companion bipartisan legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.