Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) secured the unanimous passage of an amendment to boost funding for a critical national STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education program by $5 million, to a record $35 million appropriation for Fiscal Year 2019. The amendment will be included the annual Department of Defense appropriations bill which awaits final passage by the House of Representatives this week.
Funding will support the STARBASE program, which engages local fifth-grade elementary students by exposing them to first-hand “real-world” applications of STEM skills. In the 47th District, the STARBASE Youth Program Facility at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos serves nearly 4,000 students a year.
The additional funding for the STARBASE program was provided by an amendment introduced by Congressman Lowenthal and cosponsor Congressman Peter Welch. In each year from FY2014-FY2016, Congressman Lowenthal, who is the founder and co-chair of the Congressional STARBASE Caucus, previously secured $25 million each year from FY2014-FY2016 and $30 million a year in both FY2017 and FY2018. Once passed by the House, the FY2019 appropriations will proceed to the Senate.
The STARBASE program—now in 66 locations across 33 states and Puerto Rico—engages local fifth-grade elementary students by exposing them to first-hand “real-world” applications of STEM skills. In the 47th District, the STARBASE Youth Program Facility at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos serves nearly 4,000 students a year. The program has served more than 1.1 million students nationwide since its inception in 1993. With the additional $5 million in FY2019 resources, STARBASE will continue to expand its reach across the nation.
The goal of the program is to motivate fifth-grade students to explore STEM subjects as they continue their education. The STARBASE academies serve students who are historically underrepresented in STEM: students who live in inner cities or rural locations, are socio-economically disadvantaged, low in academic performance, or have a disability.
“STEM-based skill sets are critical for our children if they are to succeed in the 21st Century. As a former educator I have seen firsthand the importance of investing in the future of our children through education. The STARBASE program is not just an investment in their futures, but in the future of our nation,” Congressman Lowenthal said.
The STARBASE program is administered by the military services because the lack of STEM educated youth in America has been identified as a future national security issue by the Department of Defense.