February 11, 2015


Washington, D.C. – Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) yesterday introduced legislation to promote and expand access to education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects. The Supporting Afterschool STEM Act (H.R.831) would create a grant to encourage afterschool programs that bolster STEM learning and provide students with opportunities to learn about the fields driving job creation in America.

“It is essential we give our young people every opportunity to succeed in the 21st century economy, and that starts with providing them a solid foundation of education,” said Rep. Castro. “The Supporting Afterschool STEM Act opens new avenues for learning that will equip students with the in-demand skills needed to fill the most innovative jobs in San Antonio and across the United States. This legislation expands career choices for the next generation of American workers, specifically for women and minorities, groups traditionally underrepresented in the STEM fields.”

This legislation would create a grant that supports K-12 afterschool STEM programs by providing technical assistance, guidance in establishing quality standards, and professional development for afterschool educators. The grant would also assist programs that connect students with STEM mentors able to offer students real-life, professional insight into STEM industries. Programs for populations underrepresented in STEM fields and underserved populations would receive priority in the grants process. 

“Students everywhere should have a chance to expand their understanding of technology and the sciences. This legislation will strengthen the educational opportunities in STEM and better prepare our young people to contribute to the economy of tomorrow,” Rep. Castro added. 

The Supporting Afterschool STEM Act is endorsed by 59 national and state groups organizations, including Girls Incorporated of San Antonio and the Texas Partnership for Out of School Time. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) yesterday also introduced a companion bill for Senate consideration. 

“High quality afterschool programs offer additional learning opportunities, such as STEM education, outside the traditional school day and benefit students, families and communities throughout the U.S. According to a study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, Texas alone will have more than 715,000 STEM jobs by 2018, and high quality afterschool programs can help STEM-related sectors by increasing student interest and ability in STEM subjects and careers. Rep. Castro’s Afterschool STEM Act would ensure that students receive quality STEM education to meet the needs of the future workforce, support families and improve our economy.”
- Simon Kim, Advocacy & Outreach Director, Texas Partnership for Out of School Time

“After school time is vital to strengthen a girl’s knowledge and confidence in STEM. Through challenging, safe, and supportive after school activities, girls gain the critical thinking and team building skills necessary to excel in STEM fields.” 
- Lea Rosenauer, President/CEO of Girls Incorporated of San Antonio