Congressman Lowenthal Amendment Wins Funds For STEM Education in 47th District

June 23, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A legislative amendment authored by Congressman Alan Lowenthal that would direct an additional $5 million to a critical national STEM education program passed the House of Representatives June 20 as part of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act by a vote of 340 to 73.

The amendment allocates funds for the STARBASE Youth Program, which provides Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education to underserved students nationwide.

In the 47th District, the STARBASE Youth Program Facility at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base (JFTB) serves nearly 4,000 students a year, and is funded by $1 million in state funds and $750,000 in federal funds.

"Our 21st century economy requires 21st century skill sets. Investing in our children's education in the STEM field will make them better prepared for the job market and equipped for success," Congressman Lowenthal said.

"I have been an educator for much of my adult life, so I appreciate  programs such as STARBASE. Our STARBASE program at the Joint Forces Training Base is doing great work for our community, and we must continue to prepare our youth for our changing economy."

The Congressman's amendment to bring more federal funds is revenue neutral, as it redirects previously authorized funds from one Department of Defense (DoD) account to another – a common funding technique used in the annual appropriations process.

The amendment would add $5 million to the STARBASE Program and the funding would be from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Operation and Maintenance, Defense Wide Budget.

The program is carried out by the military services because the lack of STEM educated youth in America has been identified as a future national security issue by the DoD.

A Congressional letter authored by Congressman Lowenthal earlier this year, and co-signed by 22 other Members, led directly to an initial $25 million allocation to the STARBASE Program.

In July of 2013, Congressman Lowenthal authored a similar amendment to provide $5 million to STARBASE in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2014. His amendment was adopted into the bill by a voice vote.

The STARBASE program is active in 56 Congressional districts throughout the nation and is set up on existing military bases. The program focuses on elementary students, primarily fifth graders, and motivates them to explore STEM education as they continue their academic careers. The academies serve students that are historically under-represented in STEM. The program targets students who live in inner cities or rural locations, those who are socio-economically disadvantaged, low in academic performance, or have a disability.

Congressman Alan Lowenthal represents the cities of Long Beach, Lakewood, Signal Hill, Avalon, Los Alamitos, Rossmoor, Cypress, Westminster, Garden Grove, Buena Park, Anaheim, Midway City and Stanton in California's 47th Congressional District. He can be followed on FacebookTwitter, or his website.