Congresswoman Martha McSally

Representing the 2nd District of Arizona

McSally Bill to Support U of A Mining Program & Fill STEM Skills Gap Passes Committee

June 27, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Martha McSally’s legislation to close the skills gap in our workforce passed out of the Natural Resources Committee today by unanimous consent. H.R. 2053 will support schools, like the University of Arizona, that have mining programs which train and educate the next generation of mining and mineral experts.

“Mining is fundamental to our economy and our national defense—supporting construction, electronics, and even advanced weaponry. However, our country has a shortage of mining engineers and very little resources are currently invested in institutions like the University of Arizona that train them,” said Congresswoman McSally. “By directing existing resources to support these universities, my bill will enable mining schools to hire the faculty they need to fill the skills gap in the mining workforce. I am pleased it passed committee today and will continue to push it through until this becomes a law.”

Federal funding has dried up for mining engineering faculty since the United States Bureau of Mines was disbanded. Without federal funding, critical research has tapered off, making it difficult for new professors to conduct the research necessary to gain tenure.

H.R. 2053, the Mining Schools Enhancement Act, will address the root of this problem by directing the federal government to distribute 70 percent of existing funding already made available through the Applied Science Tech Transfer Program at the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement to accredited mining schools. There are currently only fourteen mining programs in the nation, including the University of Arizona. Directing resources to these institutions to support research with allow these universities to tenure more faculty to train students to fill the mining skills gap. The House Natural Resources Committee passed the Mining Schools Enhancement Act with bipartisan support.

To view the legislative text, CLICK HERE