Bills to Strengthen STEM, Computer Education in Schools to Be Heard in Assembly Committee

Two California Chamber of Commerce-supported bills that will invest in California’s future workforce and address the skills gap in the state’s primary and secondary schools will be considered by the Assembly Appropriations Committee today.

  • AB 1923 (Mathis; R-Visalia) reprioritizes existing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) grant funding to prioritize education for pupils that are underrepresented in STEM, including rural and economically disadvantaged populations, as well as other groups.
  • AB 1853 (Berman; D-Palo Alto) creates a grant program encouraging K-12 computer science certification for educators and coursework to improve California’s computer science education pipeline.

Investing in California’s Future Workforce

In a support letter submitted to legislators last week, the CalChamber said AB 1923 will help improve California’s STEM education by creating new public-private partnerships and emphasizing underrepresented communities for these new opportunities.

STEM education is good for both workers and for California’s economy. California’s rapidly growing technology sector will need more workers in the coming decades than the present pipeline produces. Without increases to STEM education, the CalChamber pointed out, Californians will miss out on these high-quality jobs and California’s economy will be slowed by the lack of available qualified candidates. Existing law recognizes this reality, and the state has attempted to improve STEM education through a variety of means over the past decade.

AB 1923 adjusts slightly these aims to address the state’s STEM needs by increasing opportunity for the sector of the upcoming workforce that is most likely to miss such opportunities—underrepresented groups such as rural communities, economically disadvantaged groups, and others who might otherwise not have exposure to a potential career in STEM.

“In other words – AB 1923 aims to solve the state’s skills gap by filling it with those who are presently unlikely to have such opportunities,” the CalChamber said. “We view this as a solution that improves equity concerns across California, and simultaneously will help ensure that California’s economy can continue to grow based on the skills of California’s youth.”

Bridging the Skills Gap

The CalChamber is also supporting AB 1853 because the proposal will help address California’s skills gap by facilitating computer science education in California’s primary and secondary schools.

The workforce of California’s future will need more computer education than is presently provided, and the CalChamber foresees a considerable shortage of qualified computer science professionals in the coming years.

In a letter sent to members of the Legislature last week, the CalChamber affirmed that AB 1853 would create the ecosystem to provide these key skills to children by providing grants for credentialing of teachers in computer science.

“With these additional teachers credentialed in computer science, we believe this will increase the percentage of high school students with computer science skills—particularly in disadvantaged and minority communities—and create better futures for students who otherwise might not have had such job opportunities,” the CalChamber said.

Staff Contact: Robert Moutrie

Robert Moutrie
Robert Moutrie joined the California Chamber of Commerce in March 2019 as a policy advocate and was named a senior policy advocate starting January 1, 2024 in recognition of his efforts on behalf of members. He leads CalChamber advocacy on occupational safety, tourism, unemployment insurance and immigration. Moutrie has represented clients on matters such as consumer fraud litigation, civil rights, employment law claims, tort claims, and other business-related issues in federal and state courts. He previously served as an associate attorney at the Oakland-based firm of Meyers, Nave, Riback, Silver & Wilson. Moutrie earned a B.A. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, and a J.D. with honors from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. See full bio.