Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

Kaufman Introduces Resolution Supporting National Engineers Week

February 12, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Ted Kaufman (D-DE) led a bipartisan group of Senators on Thursday to introduce a resolution supporting National Engineers Week, Feb. 14-20, 2010. The resolution, introduced with Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), supports the goals and ideals of National Engineers Week to increase understanding of and interest in engineering careers among K-12 students across the country. Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), who for many years has introduced this resolution in the House of Representatives, will do so again following the President’s Day recess.

“National Engineers Week is an important reminder of the significant contributions engineers have made in our society,” said Kaufman. “It’s engineers who will continue to address the major technological and infrastructure challenges of our time – from providing clean water to defending the Nation to developing green energy technologies needed to power the American people into the future.”
 
Kaufman, the only serving U.S. Senator to have worked as an engineer, has championed the expansion of education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or so-called “STEM” fields since taking office last year. Soon, Kaufman, with Sen. Gillibrand, will introduce the Engineering Education for Innovation Act – legislation to authorize competitive planning and implementation grants to states to integrate engineering education into K-12 instruction and curriculum.
 
In June 2009, Kaufman introduced the STEM Education Coordination Act – a bill to establish a committee under the National Science and Technology Council to better coordinate federal STEM education program and activities.  He was also instrumental in securing $400,000 to fund research and extension grants for woman and minorities in STEM fields as part of a spending bill signed into law last year.
 
Each year, National Engineers Week brings 50,000 engineer volunteers into K-12 classrooms across the country in hopes of inspiring the next generation of engineers by helping pre-college students understand opportunities available in the field, as well as provide them with role models.
 
National Engineers Week is made possible by a coalition of nearly 100 professional societies, major corporations and government agencies dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated engineering workforce, promoting literacy in STEM fields and raising public awareness and appreciation of the contribution of engineers to society.

Kaufman also delivered remarks on National Engineers Week on the Senate floor today.

Full remarks, as prepared for delivery:

 

I rise today to support the goals and ideals of National Engineers Week, which will be celebrated next week, from February 14 to February 20. As the only serving Senator who has worked as an engineer, I am proud to sponsor a resolution acknowledging the essential role engineers play and the important work that they do. 

I would also like to thank Senators Collins, Bingaman, and Gillibrand for joining me in introducing this resolution. Just as importantly, I would like to acknowledge the leadership of Congressman Lipinski of Illinois, who for many years has been introducing this resolution in the House of Representatives.  I know he plans do the same again this year when our local weather will permit it.

Launched in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers, National Engineers Week began as a way to call attention to the immense contributions engineers make to society. 

It is also a time to emphasize the importance of learning science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills – something I have spoken about many times on this floor. Since its inception, the support for National Engineers Week has grown significantly. 

This year, nearly 100 professional societies, major corporations, and government agencies are working together with the National Engineers Week Foundation to bring attention to this important program.

If we hope to encourage more young people to purse engineering – to help us tackle issues of health, safety, and energy – it is absolutely critical that we teach them what engineering is all about. 

National Engineers Week brings 50,000 engineering volunteers into classrooms to teach students that engineering can be fun, that engineers make a difference, and that anyone can become an engineer. 

It is especially important that we get this message out to girls, women, and many minorities who are underrepresented in engineering careers.  We will all benefit from greater diversity in STEM fields.


I believe that encouraging a new generation of engineers is vital to continuing our economic recovery. 

Engineers have always been our country’s problem solvers and it is fitting that we celebrate National Engineers Week in conjunction with the birthday of President George Washington – one of our Nation’s first engineers.   

I want to thank my colleagues for joining with me in supporting this important week. 

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