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Reps. Houlahan, Baird and Senators Rosen, Hyde-Smith, Kelly Reintroduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Support Workers Entering or Returning to STEM Careers

Legislation Would Help Businesses Bring on Mid-Career Workers Seeking to Return to or Transition Into STEM Jobs

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) and Jim Baird (R-IN) reintroduced the STEM Restoring Employment Skills through Targeted Assistance, Re-entry, and Training (RESTART) Act. This bipartisan legislation would provide funding to support mid-career internships, known as “returnships,” for workers seeking to return to or transition into the STEM workforce. U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), and Mark Kelly (D-AZ) have also reintroduced identical companion bipartisan legislation in the U.S. Senate. 

“With both the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the CHIPS and Science Act becoming law last year, we need to do everything we can to support Americans, especially women, who want to return to, or transition into, jobs in STEM fields. The bipartisan STEM RESTART Act gives STEM professionals the tools and opportunity to easily transition into this growing workforce.” said Rep Houlahan. “A strong STEM workforce is vital in maintaining America’s status as a scientific and economic leader, and the STEM RESTART Act is a win for American workers and our economy. I’m proud to lead this effort with my colleagues and look forward to seeing the benefits it will bring to workers across our community, Commonwealth, and country.”    

 “In order to maintain our competitive edge and world-class technological innovations, we must invest in our STEM workforce to continue creating jobs and to empower future generations of STEM leadership,” said Baird. “This bipartisan, bicameral bill will equip Hoosiers with the tools they need to fill active vacancies in this space and pave the way for building a stronger economy.” 

“When we invest in STEM education and workforce development, we can open the door to successful careers,” said 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.  

“STEM education is invaluable in opening doors for talented workers who want to enter or re-enter the workforce,” said Hyde-Smith. “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.” 

“Arizona is benefitting greatly from the CHIPS Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, with new projects and investments being announced every month,” said Kelly. “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.” 

“Microsoft is pleased to support the re-introduction of the bipartisan STEM RESTART Act,” said Fred Humphries, Vice President of U.S. Government Affairs at Microsoft. “The legislation helps small and medium STEM businesses meet their workforce needs and allows underrepresented populations to gain work-based experience and learn critical technology skills.” 

“We are proud to support this innovative, timely proposal,” said James Brown, Executive Director of the STEM Education Coalition. “At a time when our nation needs all the talent we can muster, it is incredibly important to foster pathways for professionals with technical backgrounds to return to the STEM careers that help keep America competitive.” 

“The time is now for the STEM RESTART Act. People take pauses in their careers for varied reasons, but there is STEM talent eager to return to the workforce and support the country’s manufacturing and economic recovery goals,” said Karen Horting, Executive Director & CEO of the Society of Women Engineers. “This bill will give businesses incentives to help those who need support to return to the technical positions the country must fill. The Society of Women Engineers is eager to work with Capitol Hill supporters of this bill to get it to the President’s desk as soon as possible. STEM employers, STEM talent and the STEM economy cannot wait.” 

“We at wholeheartedly support this new push for the STEM RESTART Act,” said Brenda Darden Wilkerson, President and CEO of“A bridge back into the workforce for those who do the important work of building families, caring for the elderly, and so much more, is an investment in workers, families, companies, and the GDP.” 

The bipartisan STEM RESTART Act provides 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.  

Houlahan is an Air Force veteran, an engineer, a serial entrepreneur, an educator, and a nonprofit leader. She represents Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District, which encompasses Chester County and southern Berks County. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. She is the recipient of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Abraham Lincoln Leadership for America Award which “recognizes members who demonstrate the bipartisan leadership and constructive governing necessary to move our country forward” and the Congressional Management Foundation’s 2022 Democracy Award for best Constituent Services in Congress.