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116th Congress   }                                     {        Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session      }                                     {       116-397

======================================================================



 
                        RURAL STEM EDUCATION ACT

                                _______
                                

 February 13, 2020.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Ms. Johnson of Texas, from the Committee on Science, Space, and 
                  Technology, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 4979]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 4979) to direct the Director of the 
National Science Foundation to support STEM education and 
workforce development research focused on rural areas, and for 
other purposes, having considered the same, reports favorably 
thereon with an amendment and recommends that the bill as 
amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
   I. Amendment.......................................................2
  II. Purpose of the Bill.............................................7
 III. Background and Need for the Legislation.........................7
  IV. Committee Hearings..............................................8
   V. Committee Consideration and Votes...............................8
  VI. Summary of Major Provisions of the Bill.........................8
 VII. Section-By-Section Analysis (By Title and Section)..............9
VIII. Committee Views................................................10
  IX. Cost Estimate..................................................11
   X. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate......................11
  XI. Compliance with Public Law 104-4 (Unfunded Mandates)...........14
 XII. Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations...............14
XIII. Statement on General Performance Goals and Objectives..........14
 XIV. Federal Advisory Committee Statement...........................14
  XV. Duplication of Federal Programs................................14
 XVI. Earmark Identification.........................................14
XVII. Applicability to the Legislative Branch........................14
XVIII.Statement on Preemption of State, Local, or Tribal Law.........15

 XIX. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, As Reported..........15
  XX. Proceedings of Full Committee Markup...........................28

                              I. Amendment

    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Rural STEM Education Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

  Congress finds the following:
          (1) The supply of STEM workers is not keeping pace with the 
        rapidly evolving needs of the public and private sector, 
        resulting in a deficit often referred to as a STEM skills 
        shortage.
          (2) According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the United 
        States will need one million additional STEM professionals than 
        it is on track to produce in the coming decade.
          (3) Many STEM occupations offer higher wages, more 
        opportunities for advancement, and a higher degree of job 
        security than non-STEM jobs.
          (4) The 60,000,000 individuals in the United States who live 
        in rural settings are significantly under-represented in STEM.
          (5) According to the National Center for Education 
        Statistics, nine million students in the United States--nearly 
        20 percent of the total K-12 population--attend rural schools, 
        and for reasons ranging from teacher quality to shortages of 
        resources, these students often have fewer opportunities for 
        high-quality STEM learning than their peers in the Nation's 
        urban and suburban schools.
          (6) Rural areas represent one of the most promising, yet 
        underutilized, opportunities for STEM education to impact 
        workforce development and regional innovation, including 
        agriculture.
          (7) The study of agriculture, food, and natural resources 
        involves biology, engineering, physics, chemistry, math, 
        geology, computer science, and other scientific fields.
          (8) It is estimated that by 2020 that there will be a 
        projected one million more computing jobs than applicants who 
        can fill them. To meet this demand, rural students must acquire 
        computing skills through exposure to computer science learning 
        in grades PreK - 12 and in informal learning settings.
          (9) More than 293,000,000 individuals in the United States 
        use high-speed broadband to work, learn, access healthcare, and 
        operate their businesses, while 19,000,000 individuals in the 
        United States still lack access to high-speed broadband. Rural 
        areas are hardest hit, with over 26 percent of individuals in 
        rural areas in the United States lacking access to high-speed 
        broadband compared to 1.7 percent of individuals in urban areas 
        in the United States.

SEC. 3. NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION RURAL STEM ACTIVITIES.

  (a) Preparing Rural STEM Educators.--
          (1) In general.--The Director shall provide grants on a 
        merit-reviewed, competitive basis to institutions of higher 
        education or nonprofit organizations (or a consortium thereof) 
        for research and development to advance innovative approaches 
        to support and sustain high-quality STEM teaching in rural 
        schools.
          (2) Use of funds.--
                  (A) In general.--Grants awarded under this section 
                shall be used for the research and development 
                activities referred to in paragraph (1), which may 
                include--
                          (i) engaging rural educators of students in 
                        grades Pre-K through 12 in professional 
                        learning opportunities to enhance STEM 
                        knowledge, including computer science, and 
                        develop best practices;
                          (ii) supporting research on effective STEM 
                        teaching practices in rural settings, including 
                        the use of rubrics and mastery-based grading 
                        practices to assess student performance when 
                        employing the transdisciplinary teaching 
                        approach for STEM disciplines;
                          (iii) designing and developing pre-service 
                        and in-service training resources to assist 
                        such rural educators in adopting 
                        transdisciplinary teaching practices across 
                        STEM courses;
                          (iv) coordinating with local partners to 
                        adapt STEM teaching practices to leverage local 
                        natural and community assets in order to 
                        support in-place learning in rural areas;
                          (v) providing hands-on training and research 
                        opportunities for rural educators described in 
                        clause (i) at Federal Laboratories, 
                        institutions of higher education, or in 
                        industry;
                          (vi) developing training and best practices 
                        for educators who teach multiple grade levels 
                        within a STEM discipline;
                          (vii) designing and implementing professional 
                        development courses and experiences, including 
                        mentoring, for rural educators described in 
                        clause (i) that combine face-to-face and online 
                        experiences; and
                          (viii) any other activity the Director 
                        determines will accomplish the goals of this 
                        subsection.
                  (B) Rural stem collaborative.--The Director may 
                establish a pilot program of regional cohorts in rural 
                areas that will provide peer support, mentoring, and 
                hands-on research experiences for rural STEM educators 
                of students in grades Pre-K through 12, in order to 
                build an ecosystem of cooperation among educators, 
                researchers, academia, and local industry.
  (b) Broadening Participation of Rural Students in STEM.--
          (1) In general.--The Director shall provide grants on a 
        merit-reviewed, competitive basis to institutions of higher 
        education or nonprofit organizations (or a consortium thereof) 
        for--
                  (A) research and development of programming to 
                identify the barriers rural students face in accessing 
                high-quality STEM education; and
                  (B) development of innovative solutions to improve 
                the participation and advancement of rural students in 
                grades Pre-K through 12 in STEM studies.
          (2) Use of funds.--
                  (A) In general.--Grants awarded under this section 
                shall be used for the research and development 
                activities referred to in paragraph (1), which may 
                include--
                          (i) developing partnerships with community 
                        colleges to offer advanced STEM course work, 
                        including computer science, to rural high 
                        school students;
                          (ii) supporting research on effective STEM 
                        practices in rural settings;
                          (iii) implementing a school-wide STEM 
                        approach;
                          (iv) improving the National Science 
                        Foundation's Advanced Technology Education 
                        program's coordination and engagement with 
                        rural communities;
                          (v) collaborating with existing community 
                        partners and networks, such as the cooperative 
                        research and extension services of the 
                        Department of Agriculture and youth serving 
                        organizations like 4-H, after school STEM 
                        programs, and summer STEM programs, to leverage 
                        community resources and develop place-based 
                        programming;
                          (vi) connecting rural school districts and 
                        institutions of higher education, to improve 
                        precollegiate STEM education and engagement;
                          (vii) supporting partnerships that offer 
                        hands-on inquiry-based science activities, 
                        including coding, and access to lab resources 
                        for students studying STEM in grades Pre-K 
                        through 12 in a rural area;
                          (viii) evaluating the role of broadband 
                        connectivity and its associated impact on the 
                        STEM and technology literacy of rural students;
                          (ix) building capacity to support 
                        extracurricular STEM programs in rural schools, 
                        including mentor-led engagement programs, STEM 
                        programs held during nonschool hours, STEM 
                        networks, makerspaces, coding activities, and 
                        competitions; and
                          (x) any other activity the Director 
                        determines will accomplish the goals of this 
                        subsection.
  (c) Application.--An applicant seeking a grant under subsection (a) 
or (b) shall submit an application at such time, in such manner, and 
containing such information as the Director may require. The 
application may include the following:
          (1) A description of the target population to be served by 
        the research activity or activities for which such grant is 
        sought.
          (2) A description of the process for recruitment and 
        selection of students, educators, or schools from rural areas 
        to participate in such activity or activities.
          (3) A description of how such activity or activities may 
        inform efforts to promote the engagement and achievement of 
        rural students in grades PreK - 12 in STEM studies.
          (4) In the case of a proposal consisting of a partnership or 
        partnerships with one or more rural schools and one or more 
        researchers, a plan for establishing a sustained partnership 
        that is jointly developed and managed, draws from the 
        capacities of each partner, and is mutually beneficial.
  (d) Partnerships.--In awarding grants under subsection (a) or (b), 
the Director shall--
          (1) encourage applicants which, for the purpose of the 
        activity or activities funded through the grant, include or 
        partner with a nonprofit organization or an institution of 
        higher education (or a consortium thereof) that has extensive 
        experience and expertise in increasing the participation of 
        rural students in grades Pre-K through 12 in STEM;
          (2) encourage applicants which, for the purpose of the 
        activity or activities funded through the grant, include or 
        partner with a consortium of rural schools or rural school 
        districts; and
          (3) encourage applications which, for the purpose of the 
        activity or activities funded through the grant, include 
        commitments from school principals and administrators to making 
        reforms and activities proposed by the applicant a priority.
  (e) Evaluations.--All proposals for grants under subsections (a) and 
(b) shall include an evaluation plan that includes the use of outcome 
oriented measures to assess the impact and efficacy of the grant. Each 
recipient of a grant under this section shall include results from 
these evaluative activities in annual and final projects.
  (f) Accountability and Dissemination.--
          (1) Evaluation required.--The Director shall evaluate the 
        portfolio of grants awarded under subsections (a) and (b). Such 
        evaluation shall--
                  (A) use a common set of benchmarks and tools to 
                assess the results of research conducted under such 
                grants and identify best practices; and
                  (B) to the extent practicable, integrate the findings 
                of research resulting from the activity or activities 
                funded through such grants with the findings of other 
                research on rural student's pursuit of degrees or 
                careers in STEM.
          (2) Report on evaluations.--Not later than 180 days after the 
        completion of the evaluation under paragraph (1), the Director 
        shall submit to Congress and make widely available to the 
        public a report that includes--
                  (A) the results of the evaluation; and
                  (B) any recommendations for administrative and 
                legislative action that could optimize the 
                effectiveness of the grants awarded under this section.
  (g) Report by Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and 
Engineering.--
          (1) In general.--As part of the first report required by 
        section 36(e) of the Science and Engineering Equal 
        Opportunities Act (42 U.S.C. 1885c(e)) transmitted to Congress 
        after the date of enactment of this Act, the Committee on Equal 
        Opportunities in Science and Engineering shall include--
                  (A) a description of past and present policies and 
                activities of the Foundation to encourage full 
                participation of students in rural communities in 
                science, mathematics, engineering, and computer science 
                fields; and
                  (B) an assessment of trends in participation of rural 
                students in grades Pre-K through 12 in Foundation 
                activities, and an assessment of the policies and 
                activities of the Foundation, along with proposals for 
                new strategies or the broadening of existing successful 
                strategies towards facilitating the goals of this Act.
          (2) Technical correction.--
                  (A) In general.--Section 313 of the American 
                Innovation and Competitiveness Act (Public Law 114-329) 
                is amended by striking ``Section 204(e) of the National 
                Science Foundation Authorization Act of 1988'' and 
                inserting ``Section 36(e) of the Science and 
                Engineering Equal Opportunities Act''.
                  (B) Applicability.--The amendment made by paragraph 
                (1) shall take effect as if included in the enactment 
                of section 313 of the American Innovation and 
                Competitiveness Act (Public Law 114-329).
  (h) Coordination.--In carrying out this section, the Director shall, 
for purposes of enhancing program effectiveness and avoiding 
duplication of activities, consult, cooperate, and coordinate with the 
programs and policies of other relevant Federal agencies.
  (i) Authorization of Appropriations.--There are authorized to be 
appropriated to the Director--
          (1) $8,000,000 to carry out the activities under subsection 
        (a) for each of fiscal years 2020 through 2025; and
          (2) $12,000,000 to carry out the activities under subsection 
        (b) for each of fiscal years 2020 through 2025.

SEC. 4. OPPORTUNITIES FOR ONLINE EDUCATION.

  (a) In General.--The Director shall award competitive grants to 
institutions of higher education or nonprofit organizations (or a 
consortium thereof, which may include a private sector partner) to 
conduct research on online STEM education courses for rural 
communities.
  (b) Research Areas.--The research areas eligible for funding under 
this subsection shall include--
          (1) evaluating the learning and achievement of rural students 
        in grades Pre-K through 12 in STEM subjects;
          (2) understanding how computer-based and online professional 
        development courses and mentor experiences can be integrated to 
        meet the needs of educators of rural students in grades Pre-K 
        through 12;
          (3) combining computer-based and online STEM education and 
        training with apprenticeships, mentoring, or other applied 
        learning arrangements;
          (4) leveraging online programs to supplement STEM studies for 
        rural students that need physical and academic accommodation; 
        and
          (5) any other activity the Director determines will 
        accomplish the goals of this subsection.
  (c) Evaluations.--All proposals for grants under this section shall 
include an evaluation plan that includes the use of outcome oriented 
measures to assess the impact and efficacy of the grant. Each recipient 
of a grant under this section shall include results from these 
evaluative activities in annual and final projects.
  (d) Accountability and Dissemination.--
          (1) Evaluation required.--The Director shall evaluate the 
        portfolio of grants awarded under this section. Such evaluation 
        shall--
                  (A) use a common set of benchmarks and tools to 
                assess the results of research conducted under such 
                grants and identify best practices; and
                  (B) to the extent practicable, integrate findings 
                from activities carried out pursuant to research 
                conducted under this section, with respect to the 
                pursuit of careers and degrees in STEM, with those 
                activities carried our pursuant to other research on 
                serving rural students and communities.
          (2) Report on evaluations.--Not later than 180 days after the 
        completion of the evaluation under paragraph (1), the Director 
        shall submit to Congress and make widely available to the 
        public a report that includes--
                  (A) the results of the evaluation; and
                  (B) any recommendations for administrative and 
                legislative action that could optimize the 
                effectiveness of the grants awarded under this section.
  (e) Coordination.--In carrying out this section, the Director shall, 
for purposes of enhancing program effectiveness and avoiding 
duplication of activities, consult, cooperate, and coordinate with the 
programs and policies of other relevant Federal agencies.

SEC. 5. NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES EVALUATION.

  (a) Study.--Not later than 12 months after the date of enactment of 
this Act, the Director shall enter into an agreement with the National 
Academy of Sciences under which the National Academy agrees to conduct 
an evaluation and assessment that--
          (1) evaluates the quality and quantity of current Federal 
        programming and research directed at examining STEM education 
        for students in grades Pre-K through 12 and workforce 
        development in rural areas;
          (2) assesses the impact of the scarcity of broadband 
        connectivity in rural communities has on STEM and technical 
        literacy for students in grades Pre-K through 12 in rural 
        areas;
          (3) assesses the core research and data needed to understand 
        the challenges rural areas are facing in providing quality STEM 
        education and workforce development; and
          (4) makes recommendations for action at the Federal, State, 
        and local levels for improving STEM education for students in 
        grades Pre-K through 12 and workforce development in rural 
        areas.
  (b) Report to Director.--The agreement entered into under subsection 
(a) shall require the National Academy of Sciences, not later than 24 
months after the date of enactment of this Act, to submit to the 
Director a report on the study conducted under such subsection, 
including the National Academy's findings and recommendations.
  (c) Authorization of Appropriations.--There are authorized to be 
appropriated to the Director to carry out this section $1,000,000 for 
fiscal year 2020.

SEC. 6. GAO REVIEW.

  Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the 
Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct a study on the 
engagement of rural populations in Federal STEM programs and submit to 
Congress a report that includes--
          (1) an assessment of how Federal STEM education programs are 
        serving rural populations;
          (2) a description of initiatives carried out by Federal 
        agencies that are targeted at supporting STEM education in 
        rural areas;
          (3) an assessment of what is known about the impact and 
        effectiveness of Federal investments in STEM education programs 
        that are targeted to rural areas; and
          (4) an assessment of challenges that state and Federal STEM 
        education programs face in reaching rural population centers.

SEC. 7. CAPACITY BUILDING THROUGH EPSCOR.

  Section 517(f)(2) of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 
(42 U.S.C. 1862p-9(f)(2)) is amended--
          (1) in subparagraph (A), by striking ``and'' at the end; and
          (2) by adding at the end the following:
                  ``(C) to increase the capacity of rural communities 
                to provide quality STEM education and STEM workforce 
                development programming to students, and teachers; 
                and''.

SEC. 8. NIST ENGAGEMENT WITH RURAL COMMUNITIES.

  (a) MEP Outreach.--Section 25 of the National Institute of Standards 
and Technology Act (15 U.S.C. 278k) is amended--
          (1) in subsection (c)--
                  (A) in paragraph (6), by striking ``community 
                colleges and area career and technical education 
                schools'' and inserting the following: ``secondary 
                schools (as defined in section 8101 of the Elementary 
                and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801)), 
                community colleges, and area career and technical 
                education schools, including those in underserved and 
                rural communities,''; and
                  (B) in paragraph (7)--
                          (i) by striking ``and local colleges'' and 
                        inserting the following: ``local high schools 
                        and local colleges, including those in 
                        underserved and rural communities,''; and
                          (ii) by inserting ``or other applied learning 
                        opportunities'' after ``apprenticeships''; and
          (2) in subsection (d)(3) by striking ``, community colleges, 
        and area career and technical education schools,'' and 
        inserting the following: ``and local high schools, community 
        colleges, and area career and technical education schools, 
        including those in underserved and rural communities,''.
  (b) Rural Connectivity Prize Competition.--
          (1) Prize competition.--Pursuant to section 24 of the 
        Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 (15 U.S.C. 
        3719), the Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Under 
        Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology (referred to 
        in this subsection as the ``Secretary''), shall carry out a 
        program to award prizes competitively to stimulate research and 
        development of creative technologies in order to deploy 
        affordable and reliable broadband connectivity to underserved 
        rural communities.
          (2) Plan for deployment in rural communities.--Each proposal 
        submitted pursuant to paragraph (1) shall include a plan for 
        deployment of the technology that is the subject of such 
        proposal in an underserved rural community.
          (3) Prize amount.--In carrying out the program under 
        paragraph (1), the Secretary may award not more than a total of 
        $5,000,000 to one or more winners of the prize competition.
          (4) Report.--Not later than 60 days after the date on which a 
        prize is awarded under the prize competition, the Secretary 
        shall submit to the relevant committees of Congress a report 
        that describes the winning proposal of the prize competition.
          (5) Consultation.--In carrying out the program under 
        subsection (a), the Secretary may consult with the heads of 
        relevant departments and agencies of the Federal Government.

SEC. 9. NITR-D BROADBAND WORKING GROUP.

  Title I of the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991 (15 U.S.C. 5511 
et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

``SEC. 103. BROADBAND RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT WORKING GROUP.

  ``(a) In General.--The Director shall establish a broadband research 
and development working group to address national research challenges 
and opportunities for improving broadband access and adoption across 
the United States. 
  ``(b) Activities.--The working group shall identify and coordinate 
key research priorities for addressing broadband access and adoption, 
including--
          ``(1) promising research areas;
          ``(2) requirements for data collection and sharing;
          ``(3) opportunities for better alignment and coordination 
        across Federal agencies and external stakeholders; and
          ``(4) input on the development of new Federal policies and 
        programs to enhance data collection and research.
  ``(c) Coordination.--The working group shall coordinate, as 
appropriate, with the Rural Broadband Integration Working Group 
established under section 6214 of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 
2018 (Public Law 115-334) and the National Institute of Food and 
Agriculture of the Department of Agriculture.
  ``(d) Report.--The working group shall report to Congress on their 
activities as part of the annual report submitted under section 
101(a)(2)(D).
  ``(e) Sunset.--The authority to carry out this section shall 
terminate on the date that is 5 years after the date of enactment of 
the Rural STEM Education Act.''.

SEC. 10. DEFINITIONS.

  In this Act:
          (1) Director.--The term ``Director'' means the Director of 
        the National Science Foundation established under section 2 of 
        the National Science Foundation Act of 1950 (42 U.S.C. 1861).
          (2) Federal laboratory.--The term ``Federal laboratory'' has 
        the meaning given such term in section 4 of the Stevenson-
        Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 (15 U.S.C. 3703).
          (3) Foundation.--The term ``Foundation'' means the National 
        Science Foundation established under section 2 of the National 
        Science Foundation Act of 1950 (42 U.S.C. 1861).
          (4) Institution of higher education.--The term ``institution 
        of higher education'' has the meaning given such term in 
        section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
        1001(a)).
          (5) STEM.--The term ``STEM'' has the meaning given the term 
        in section 2 of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 
        2010 (42 U.S.C. 6621 note).
          (6) STEM education.--The term ``STEM education'' has the 
        meaning given the term in section 2 of the STEM Education Act 
        of 2015 (42 U.S.C. 6621 note).

                        II. Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of the bill is to direct the Director of the 
National Science Foundation to support STEM education and 
workforce development research focused on rural areas, and for 
other purposes.

              III. Background and Need for the Legislation

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) continues to make the 
largest financial investment in STEM education of all federal 
science agencies and plays a leadership role in setting 
research and policy agendas. During the 1990s and into the 
early 2000s, NSF invested more than $140,000,000 into the Rural 
Systemic Initiative projects (RSIs), which focused on the 
improvement of mathematics and science education in rural 
America. However, since the RSIs ended, there has been a 
reduced focus on effective STEM practices in rural settings at 
NSF.
    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM 
occupations are growing faster than any other sector. As these 
occupations grow, employers are struggling to find workers with 
the STEM knowledge and skills they need, resulting in what is 
often referred to as the ``STEM skills gap.'' With STEM 
education becoming so fundamental to success in any industry, 
finding ways to improve the quality of STEM learning everywhere 
is of critical importance. However, the roughly 60 million 
Americans who live in rural settings are frequently overlooked 
and a significantly underrepresented STEM audience.
    Many of the nine million students enrolled in rural schools 
in the U.S. face barriers to high-quality STEM education, 
including shortages of mathematics and science teachers, high 
teacher turnover, limited resources, and few local university 
and industry partners. Students in rural communities represent 
a promising but underutilized source of STEM talent that could 
help close the STEM skills gap, if given the opportunity.
    The Rural STEM Education Act provides for research and 
development to increase the capacity of rural communities to 
provide high quality STEM education and contribute to the 
Nation's STEM workforce needs.

                         IV. Committee Hearings

    On May 8, 2019, the Subcommittee on Research and Technology 
held a hearing entitled, ``A Review of the National Science 
Foundation FY2020 Budget Request.'' Witnesses were: Dr. France 
Cordova, Director, National Science Foundation, and Dr. Diane 
Souvaine, Chair, National Science Board.
    On May 9, 2019, the full Committee held a hearing entitled, 
``Achieving the Promise of a Diverse STEM Workforce.'' 
Witnesses were: Dr. Mae Jemison, Principal, 100 Years Starship; 
Dr. Shirley Malcom, Senior Advisor and Director of SEA Change, 
American Association for the Advancement of Science; Dr. 
Lorelle Espinosa, Vice President for Research, American Council 
on Education; Dr. James L. Moore III, Vice Provost for 
Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, The Ohio 
State University; and Ms. Barbara Whye, Chief Diversity and 
Inclusion Officer, Vice President of Human Resources, Intel.

                  V. Committee Consideration and Votes

    On November 5, 2019, Ranking Member Frank Lucas, 
Representative Ben McAdams, Representative James Baird, and 
Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson introduced H.R. 4979, the 
Rural STEM Education Act. The bill was referred to the House 
Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
    On November 14, 2019, the Committee on Science, Space, and 
Technology met to consider H.R. 4979. Ranking Member Lucas 
offered an amendment to make technical changes and incorporate 
feedback from stakeholders, including the National Academies of 
Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the Office of Science 
and Technology Policy. The amendment was agreed to on a voice 
vote. Next, Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler offered an 
amendment to further highlight the importance of computer 
sciences; a discipline covered by the Act. The amendment was 
agreed to on a voice vote. Finally, Representative McAdams 
offered an amendment to commission a GAO study on the 
engagement of rural populations in Federal STEM programs. The 
amendment was agreed to on a voice vote. Chairwoman Eddie 
Bernice Johnson moved that the Committee favorably report the 
bill, H.R. 4979, to the House with the recommendation that the 
bill be approved. The motion was agreed to by a voice vote.

              VI. Summary of Major Provisions of the Bill

    The Act directs NSF to support research and development 
activities to improve our understanding of the challenges rural 
communities are facing in providing and sustaining quality STEM 
education programs by authorizing NSF grants to support 
research to improve STEM teaching in rural schools, improve 
participation and the advancement of rural students in STEM 
studies, and research online STEM education and mentoring in 
rural communities. It directs a National Academies study on 
rural STEM education, including an evaluation of the impact of 
the scarcity of broadband connectivity on STEM education, and a 
GAO review to assess how Federal STEM education programs are 
serving rural populations.
    The Act also updates the Established Program to Stimulate 
Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program to include an allowance 
for funding STEM education and STEM workforce development 
programs in underserved rural communities. It expands the scope 
of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) 
Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program to include 
engagement with secondary schools and directs NIST to establish 
a prize competition on creative technologies to deploy 
affordable and reliable broadband to underserved rural 
communities. Further, the Act codifies the Networking 
Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) 
program's Broadband R&D working group and directs a report to 
Congress on its activities.

        VII. Section-by-Section Analysis (by Title and Section)


Section 1. Short title

    Rural STEM Education Act.

Section 2. Findings

    This section highlights the challenges rural communities 
face in providing high quality STEM education and the need for 
research to help address these challenges.

Section 3. National Science Foundation rural STEM activities

    This section directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) 
to award competitive grants to institutions of higher education 
or nonprofit organizations to expand the research and 
development of programming or curriculum to advance innovative 
approaches to the challenges of supporting and sustaining high-
quality PreK-12 STEM teaching in rural schools. Activities 
supported by these grants include developing tools to assist 
rural educators who teach multiple grade levels within a STEM 
discipline, coordinating with local partners to leverage local 
natural and community assets in order to support in-place 
learning, and providing hands-on training and research 
opportunities at Federal Laboratories, research institutions, 
or industry for PreK-12 rural educators. This section 
authorizes $8,000,000 per year for five years to support these 
activities.
    This section also directs NSF to award competitive grants 
to institutions of higher education or nonprofit organizations 
for the research and development of programming or curricula to 
identify the barriers rural students face in accessing high-
quality STEM education and develop innovative solutions to 
improve the participation and advancement of rural students in 
STEM studies. Activities supported by these grants include 
developing partnerships with community colleges to offer 
advanced STEM course work to rural high school students, 
collaborating with existing community partners and networks, 
such as the cooperative research and extension services of the 
Department of Agriculture, to leverage community resources and 
develop place-based programming, and to evaluate the role of 
connectivity and its impact on rural students' STEM and 
technology literacy. This section authorizes $12,000,000 per 
year for five years to support these activities.
    This section also directs the NSF Committee on Equal 
Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE) to report to 
Congress an assessment of NSF activities that support 
participation of rural students in STEM studies.

Section 4. Opportunities for online education

    This section directs NSF to award competitive grants to 
institutions of higher education or nonprofit organizations to 
conduct research to evaluate student outcomes and establish 
best practices and scalability of computer-based and online 
STEM education courses for rural communities.

Section 5. National Academy of Sciences evaluation

    This section directs NSF to enter into an agreement with 
the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 
for a study that includes an evaluation of Federal investments 
in rural STEM education, an assessment of research and data 
needs, and recommendations for improving STEM education in 
rural communities. This section authorizes $1,000,000 in 
appropriations for fiscal year 2020 to carry out this section.

Section 6. Capacity building through EPSCoR

    This section amends the America COMPETES Reauthorization 
Act of 2010 to expand the authorized activities under the 
EPSCoR program by allowing them to fund grants intended to 
increase the capacity of rural communities to provide quality 
STEM education and STEM workforce development programming to 
students and teachers.

Section 7. NIST engagement with rural communities

    This section amends the MEP program to allow their 
education and workforce development activities to include 
outreach and engagement with local high schools, including 
those in underserved and rural communities. This section also 
directs NIST to conduct a prize competition to stimulate 
research and development of creative technologies in order to 
deploy affordable and reliable broadband connectivity to 
underserved rural communities.

Section 8. NITR-D broadband working group

    This section codifies the NITRD program's working group on 
broadband research and development to address national research 
challenges and opportunities for improving broadband access and 
adoption across the United States. This section also sunsets 
the Working Group five years after enactment of the Act.

Section 9. Definitions

    Definitions for ``STEM'', ``STEM Education'', ``Institution 
of Higher Education'', and ``Federal Laboratory''.

                         VIII. Committee Views

    The intent of this legislation is to improve the 
understanding of the unique challenges rural communities face 
in providing and sustaining quality STEM education programs 
through research and to develop tools to close these STEM 
skills gaps and ensure rural students have equitable access to 
high-paying STEM careers.
    The Committee intends that cooperative extension and 
applied research programs that are implemented by a land-grant 
college or university are eligible to lead grants authorized in 
Section 3 of this Act, as appropriate. Given their 
relationships with rural communities, NSF should explore 
opportunities to leverage cooperative extension and applied 
research networks to meet the goals of this Act. The Committee 
also believes it is important to bring science to rural 
students, meeting them where they are and demonstrating the 
applicability of STEM skills in their community through place-
based learning.
    The Committee intends that the term ``STEM'' when 
referencing courses, coursework, and teacher training, includes 
core courses, such as mathematics, biology, chemistry, and 
physics.
    It is the intent of the Committee, by encouraging 
partnerships with a consortium of rural schools, to allow for 
rural schools to coordinate their limited resources to apply 
for grants. The Committee also intends to ensure that 
researcher-practitioner partnerships are balanced and equally 
beneficial to all parties involved. The Committee also finds it 
is important to have buy-in from the school leadership, 
especially given the relatively small size of rural schools, 
that improved access to quality STEM learning is a priority.
    The Committee finds connectivity and access to broadband 
play a critical role in ensuring students are prepared to 
compete in a 21st Century economy.

                           IX. Cost Estimate

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee adopts as its own the 
estimate of new budget authority, entitlement authority, or tax 
expenditures or revenues contained in the cost estimate 
prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office 
pursuant to section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974.

              X. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                   Washington, DC, January 7, 2020.
Hon. Eddie Bernice Johnson,
Chairwoman, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Madam Chairwoman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 4979, the Rural 
STEM Education Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Janani 
Shankaran.
            Sincerely,
                                         Phillip L. Swagel,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

              [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]
    

    The bill would:
           Authorize the appropriation of $120 million 
        over the 2020-2025 period for the National Science 
        Foundation to award grants for research to improve 
        rural students' access to and participation in the 
        fields of science, technology, engineering, and 
        mathematics
           Direct the National Institute of Standards 
        and Technology to carry out a prize competition for 
        ideas to deploy affordable and reliable broadband 
        connectivity to underserved rural communities
    Estimated budgetary effects would primarily stem from:
           Spending of the authorized appropriations
    Bill summary: H.R. 4979 would authorize the appropriation 
of $120 million over the 2020-2025 period for the National 
Science Foundation (NSF) to award grants for research to 
improve rural students' access to and participation in the 
fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics 
(STEM).
    The bill also would require the National Institute of 
Standards and Technology (NIST) to carry out a prize 
competition for ideas to deploy affordable and reliable 
broadband connectivity to underserved rural communities. 
Finally, H.R. 4979 would authorize the appropriation of $1 
million for the NSF to enter into an agreement with the 
National Academies to evaluate federal programs and research 
that focus on STEM education and workforce development in rural 
areas.
    Estimated Federal cost: The estimated budgetary effect of 
H.R. 4979 is shown in Table 1. The costs of the legislation 
fall primarily within budget functions 250 (science, space, and 
technology) and 370 (commerce and housing credit).

               TABLE 1.--ESTIMATED INCREASES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION UNDER H.R. 4979
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                   By fiscal year, millions of dollars--
                                                         -------------------------------------------------------
                                                            2020     2021     2022     2023     2024   2020-2024
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
National Science Foundation Grants:
    Estimated Authorization\a\..........................       20       20       20       20       20        100
    Estimated Outlays...................................        0        4       11       16       20         51
Prize Competition:
    Estimated Authorization.............................        5        0        0        0        0          5
    Estimated Outlays...................................        0        3        2        0        0          5
Other Activities:
    Estimated Authorization.............................        2        0        0        0        0          2
    Estimated Outlays...................................        1        1        0        0        0          2
    Total Changes:
        Estimated Authorization.........................       27       20       20       20       20        107
        Estimated Outlays...............................        1        8       13       16       20        58
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\a\Section 3 of H.R. 4979 would authorize the appropriation of $20 million in 2020 for the National Science
  Foundation to award grants. CBO does not estimate any outlays for that authorization because appropriations
  have already been provided for 2020.

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that the 
legislation will be enacted in 2020 and that the authorized and 
necessary amounts will be provided in each year. Estimated 
outlays are based on historical spending patterns for similar 
programs.
    CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 4979 would cost $58 
million over the 2020-2024 period.
    National Science Foundation grants: Section 3 would 
authorize the appropriation of $8 million annually over the 
2020-2025 period for the NSF to award grants for research on 
innovative approaches to STEM education in rural schools. The 
bill also would authorize the appropriation of $12 million 
annually over the same period for grants to identify barriers 
that rural students face in accessing STEM education, and to 
improve the participation of rural students in STEM fields.
    Using information from the NSF, CBO estimates that in 2019, 
the agency allocated more than $20 million for those grants. 
Because appropriations for 2020 have already been provided, CBO 
does not estimate any outlays for the authorization of $20 
million in 2020. We estimate that the authorization of 
appropriations for grants from 2021 through 2025 would cost $51 
million over the 2020-2024 period and $49 million after 2024.
    Prize competition: Section 8 would direct NIST to carry out 
a prize competition and award up to $5 million in prizes for 
ideas that could improve the deployment of broadband 
connectivity to underserved rural communities. CBO estimates 
that implementing the provision would cost $5 million over the 
2020-2022 period.
    Other activities: Section 5 would authorize the 
appropriation of $1 million in 2020 for the NSF to enter into 
an agreement with the National Academies to evaluate federal 
programs and research that focus on STEM education and 
workforce development in rural areas. CBO estimates that 
conducting the evaluation would cost $1 million over the 2020-
2021 period.
    In addition, H.R. 4979 would direct the NSF to report to 
the Congress on grants awarded under the bill and on agency 
policies and activities that encourage the participation of 
rural students in STEM and computer science. The bill also 
would require the Government Accountability Office to study how 
federal STEM programs serve rural communities. Based on the 
costs of similar tasks, CBO estimates that conducting those 
activities would cost $1 million over the 2020-2021 period.
    Finally, section 4 would direct the NSF to award grants for 
research on online STEM education courses for rural 
communities, and section 8 would require the Office of Science 
and Technology Policy to establish a broadband research and 
development working group. Using information from those 
agencies, CBO estimates that implementing those provisions 
would have no significant effect on the federal budget because 
the agencies are already meeting those requirements.
    Pay-As-You-Go considerations: None.
    Increase in long-term deficits: None.
    Mandates: None.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Janani Shankaran 
(National Science Foundation), David Hughes (National Institute 
of Standards and Technology); Mandates: Brandon Lever.
    Estimate reviewed by: Kim P. Cawley, Chief, Natural and 
Physical Resources Cost Estimates Unit; H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Director of Budget Analysis.

                     XI. Federal Mandates Statement

    H.R. 4979 contains no unfunded mandates.

         XII. Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations

    The Committee's oversight findings and recommendations are 
reflected in the body of this report.

             XIII. Statement on General Performance Goals 
                             and Objectives

    Pursuant to clause 3(c) of House Rule XIII, the goal of 
H.R. 4979 is to provide for research and development to improve 
STEM education in rural communities.

               XIV. Federal Advisory Committee Statement

    H.R. 4979 does not create any advisory committees.

                  XV. Duplication of Federal Programs

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(5) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds that no provision 
of H.R. 4979 establishes or reauthorizes a program of the 
federal government known to be duplicative of another federal 
program, including any program that was included in a report to 
Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139 or the 
most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance.

                      XVI. Earmark Identification

    Pursuant to clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI, the 
Committee finds that H.R. 4979 contains no earmarks, limited 
tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits.

             XVII. Applicability to the Legislative Branch

    The Committee finds that H.R. 4979 does not relate to the 
terms and conditions of employment or access to public services 
or accommodations within the meaning of section 102(b)(3) of 
the Congressional Accountability Act (Public Law 104-1).

            XVIII. Statement on Preemption of State, Local, 
                             or Tribal Law

    This bill is not intended to preempt any state, local, or 
tribal law.

       XIX. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, and existing law in which no 
change is proposed is shown in roman):

              AMERICAN INNOVATION AND COMPETITIVENESS ACT




           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
TITLE III--SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, AND MATH EDUCATION

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 313. NSF REPORT ON BROADENING PARTICIPATION.

   [Section 204(e) of the National Science Foundation 
Authorization Act of 1988] Section 36(e) of the Science and 
Engineering Equal Opportunities Act (42 U.S.C. 1885c(e)) is 
amended to read as follows:
  ``(e) Biennial Report.--Every 2 years, the Committee shall 
prepare and submit to the Director a report on its activities 
during the previous 2 years and proposed activities for the 
next 2 years. The Director shall submit to Congress the report, 
unaltered, together with such comments as the Director 
considers appropriate, including--
          ``(1) review data on the participation in Foundation 
        activities of institutions serving populations that are 
        underrepresented in STEM disciplines, including poor, 
        rural, and tribal populations; and
          ``(2) recommendations regarding how the Foundation 
        could improve outreach and inclusion of these 
        populations in Foundation activities.''.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                              ----------                              


              AMERICA COMPETES REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2010




           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
  TITLE V--SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, AND MATHEMATICS SUPPORT 
            PROGRAMS SUBTITLE A--NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

Subtitle A--NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 517. EXPERIMENTAL PROGRAM TO STIMULATE COMPETITIVE RESEARCH.

  (a) Findings.--The Congress finds that--
          (1) the National Science Foundation Act of 1950 
        stated, ``it shall be an objective of the Foundation to 
        strengthen research and education in the sciences and 
        engineering, including independent research by 
        individuals, throughout the United States, and to avoid 
        undue concentration of such research and education'';
          (2) National Science Foundation funding remains 
        highly concentrated, with 28 States and jurisdictions, 
        taken together, receiving only about 12 percent of all 
        National Science Foundation research funding;
          (3) each of the States described in paragraph (2) 
        receives only a fraction of 1 percent of the 
        Foundation's research dollars each year;
          (4) first established at the National Science 
        Foundation in 1979, the Experimental Program to 
        Stimulate Competitive Research (referred to in this 
        section as ``EPSCoR'') assists States and jurisdictions 
        historically underserved by Federal research and 
        development funding in strengthening their research and 
        innovation capabilities;
          (5) the EPSCoR structure requires each participating 
        State to develop a science and technology plan suited 
        to State and local research, education, and economic 
        interests and objectives;
          (6) EPSCoR has been credited with advancing the 
        research competitiveness of participating States, 
        improving awareness of science, promoting policies that 
        link scientific investment and economic growth, and 
        encouraging partnerships between government, industry, 
        and academia;
          (7) EPSCoR proposals are evaluated through a rigorous 
        and competitive merit-review process to ensure that 
        awarded research and development efforts meet high 
        scientific standards; and
          (8) according to the National Academy of Sciences, 
        EPSCoR has strengthened the national research 
        infrastructure and enhanced the educational 
        opportunities needed to develop the science and 
        engineering workforce.
  (b) Continuation of Program.--The Director shall continue to 
carry out EPSCoR, with the objective of helping the eligible 
States to develop the research infrastructure that will make 
them more competitive for Foundation and other Federal research 
funding. The program shall continue to increase as the National 
Science Foundation funding increases.
  (c) Coordination of EPSCoR and Similar Federal Programs.--
          (1) Another finding.--The Congress finds that a 
        number of Federal agencies have programs, such as 
        EPSCoR and the National Institutes of Health 
        Institutional Development Award program, designed to 
        increase the capacity for and quality of science and 
        technology research and training at academic 
        institutions in States that historically have received 
        relatively little Federal research and development 
        funding.
          (2) Coordination required.--The EPSCoR Interagency 
        Coordinating Committee, chaired by the National Science 
        Foundation, shall--
                  (A) coordinate each EPSCoR to maximize the 
                impact of Federal support for building 
                competitive research infrastructure, and in 
                order to achieve an integrated Federal effort;
                  (B) coordinate agency objectives with State 
                and institutional goals, to obtain continued 
                non-Federal support of science and technology 
                research and training;
                  (C) develop metrics to assess gains in 
                academic research quality and competitiveness, 
                and in science and technology human resource 
                development;
                  (D) conduct a cross-agency evaluation of each 
                EPSCoR and accomplishments, including 
                management, investment, and metric-measuring 
                strategies implemented by the different 
                agencies aimed to increase the number of new 
                investigators receiving peer-reviewed funding, 
                broaden participation, and empower knowledge 
                generation, dissemination, application, and 
                national research and development 
                competitiveness;
                  (E) coordinate the development and 
                implementation of new, novel workshops, 
                outreach activities, and follow-up mentoring 
                activities among EPSCoR or EPSCoR-like programs 
                for colleges and universities in EPSCoR States 
                and territories in order to increase the number 
                of proposals submitted and successfully funded 
                and to enhance statewide coordination of each 
                EPSCoR;
                  (F) coordinate the development of new, 
                innovative solicitations and programs to 
                facilitate collaborations, partnerships, and 
                mentoring activities among faculty at all 
                levels in non-EPSCoR and EPSCoR States and 
                jurisdictions;
                  (G) conduct an evaluation of the roles, 
                responsibilities and degree of autonomy that 
                program officers or managers (or the equivalent 
                position) have in executing each EPSCoR at the 
                different Federal agencies and the impacts 
                these differences have on the number of EPSCoR 
                State and jurisdiction faculty participating in 
                the peer review process and the percentage of 
                successful awards by individual EPSCoR State 
                jurisdiction and individual researcher; and
                  (H) conduct a survey of colleges and 
                university faculty at all levels regarding 
                their knowledge and understanding of EPSCoR, 
                and their level of interaction with and 
                knowledge about their respective State or 
                Jurisdictional EPSCoR Committee.
          (3) Meetings and reports.--The Committee shall meet 
        at least twice each fiscal year and shall submit an 
        annual report to the appropriate committees of Congress 
        describing progress made in carrying out paragraph (2).
  (d) Federal Agency Reports.--Each Federal agency that 
administers an EPSCoR shall submit to Congress, as part of its 
Federal budget submission--
          (1) a description of the program strategy and 
        objectives;
          (2) a description of the awards made in the previous 
        fiscal year, including--
                  (A) the total amount made available, by 
                State, under EPSCoR;
                  (B) the total amount of agency funding made 
                available to all institutions and entities 
                within each EPSCoR State;
                  (C) the efforts and accomplishments to more 
                fully integrate the EPSCoR States in major 
                agency activities and initiatives;
                  (D) the percentage of EPSCoR reviewers from 
                EPSCoR States; and
                  (E) the number of programs or large 
                collaborator awards involving a partnership of 
                organizations and institutions from EPSCoR and 
                non-EPSCoR States; and
          (3) an analysis of the gains in academic research 
        quality and competitiveness, and in science and 
        technology human resource development, achieved by the 
        program over the last 5 fiscal years.
  (e) National Academy of Sciences Study.--
          (1) In general.--The Director shall contract with the 
        National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study on all 
        Federal agencies that administer an EPSCoR.
          (2) Matters to be addressed.--The study conducted 
        under paragraph (1) shall include the following:
                  (A) A delineation of the policies of each 
                Federal agency with respect to the awarding of 
                grants to EPSCoR States.
                  (B) The effectiveness of each program.
                  (C) Recommendations for improvements for each 
                agency to achieve EPSCoR goals.
                  (D) An assessment of the effectiveness of 
                EPSCoR States in using awards to develop 
                science and engineering research and education, 
                and science and engineering infrastructure 
                within their States.
                  (E) Such other issues that address the 
                effectiveness of EPSCoR as the National Academy 
                of Sciences considers appropriate.
   (f) Award Structure Updates.--In implementing the mandate to 
maximize the impact of Federal EPSCoR support on building 
competitive research infrastructure, and based on the inputs 
and recommendations of previous EPSCoR reviews, the head of 
each Federal agency administering an EPSCoR program shall--
          (1) consider modifications to EPSCoR proposal 
        solicitation, award type, and project evaluation--
                  (A) to more closely align with current agency 
                priorities and initiatives;
                  (B) to focus EPSCoR funding on achieving 
                critical scientific, infrastructure, and 
                educational needs of that agency;
                  (C) to encourage collaboration between 
                EPSCoR-eligible institutions and researchers, 
                including with institutions and researchers in 
                other States and jurisdictions;
                  (D) to improve communication between State 
                and Federal agency proposal reviewers; and
                  (E) to continue to reduce administrative 
                burdens associated with EPSCoR;
          (2) consider modifications to EPSCoR award 
        structures--
                  (A) to emphasize long-term investments in 
                building research capacity, potentially through 
                the use of larger, renewable funding 
                opportunities; [and]
                  (B) to allow the agency, States, and 
                jurisdictions to experiment with new research 
                and development funding models; and
                  (C) to increase the capacity of rural 
                communities to provide quality STEM education 
                and STEM workforce development programming to 
                students, and teachers; and
          (3) consider modifications to the mechanisms used to 
        monitor and evaluate EPSCoR awards--
                  (A) to increase collaboration between EPSCoR-
                funded researchers and agency staff, including 
                by providing opportunities for mentoring young 
                researchers and for the use of Federal 
                facilities;
                  (B) to identify and disseminate best 
                practices; and
                  (C) to harmonize metrics across participating 
                Federal agencies, as appropriate.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                              ----------                              


           NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY ACT



           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
SEC. 25. HOLLINGS MANUFACTURING EXTENSION PARTNERSHIP.

  (a) Definitions.--In this section:
          (1) Appropriate committees of congress.--The term 
        ``appropriate committees of Congress'' means--
                  (A) the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
                Transportation of the Senate; and
                  (B) the Committee on Science, Space, and 
                Technology of the House of Representatives.
          (2) Area career and technical education school.--The 
        term ``area career and technical education school'' has 
        the meaning given the term in section 3 of the 
        Vocational Education Act of 1963 (20 U.S.C. 2302).
          (3) Center.--The term ``Center'' means a 
        manufacturing extension center that--
                  (A) is created under subsection (b); and
                  (B) is affiliated with an eligible entity 
                that applies for and is awarded financial 
                support under subsection (e).
          (4) Community college.--The term ``community 
        college'' means an institution of higher education (as 
        defined under section 101(a) of the Higher Education 
        Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001(a))) at which the highest 
        degree that is predominately awarded to students is an 
        associate's degree.
          (5) Eligible entity.--The term ``eligible entity'' 
        means a United States-based nonprofit institution, or 
        consortium thereof, an institution of higher education, 
        or a State, United States territory, local, or tribal 
        government.
          (6) Hollings manufacturing extension partnership or 
        program.--The term ``Hollings Manufacturing Extension 
        Partnership'' or ``Program'' means the program 
        established under subsection (b).
          (7) MEP advisory board.--The term ``MEP Advisory 
        Board'' means the Manufacturing Extension Partnership 
        Advisory Board established under subsection (n).
  (b) Establishment and Purpose.--The Secretary, acting through 
the Director and, if appropriate, through other Federal 
officials, shall establish a program to provide assistance for 
the creation and support of manufacturing extension centers for 
the transfer of manufacturing technology and best business 
practices.
  (c) Objective.--The objective of the Program shall be to 
enhance competitiveness, productivity, and technological 
performance in United States manufacturing through--
          (1) the transfer of manufacturing technology and 
        techniques developed at the Institute to Centers and, 
        through them, to manufacturing companies throughout the 
        United States;
          (2) the participation of individuals from industry, 
        institutions of higher education, State governments, 
        other Federal agencies, and, when appropriate, the 
        Institute in cooperative technology transfer 
        activities;
          (3) efforts to make new manufacturing technology and 
        processes usable by United States-based small and 
        medium-sized companies;
          (4) the active dissemination of scientific, 
        engineering, technical, and management information 
        about manufacturing to industrial firms, including 
        small and medium-sized manufacturing companies;
          (5) the utilization, when appropriate, of the 
        expertise and capability that exists in Federal 
        agencies, other than the Institute, and federally-
        sponsored laboratories;
          (6) the provision to [community colleges and area 
        career and technical education schools] secondary 
        schools (as defined in section 8101 of the Elementary 
        and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801)), 
        community colleges, and area career and technical 
        education schools, including those in underserved and 
        rural communities, of information about the job skills 
        needed in manufacturing companies, including small and 
        medium-sized manufacturing businesses in the regions 
        they serve;
          (7) the promotion and expansion of certification 
        systems offered through industry, associations, [and 
        local colleges] local high schools and local colleges, 
        including those in underserved and rural communities, 
        when appropriate, including efforts such as 
        facilitating training, supporting new or existing 
        apprenticeships or other applied learning 
        opportunities, and providing access to information and 
        experts, to address workforce needs and skills gaps in 
        order to assist small- and medium-sized manufacturing 
        businesses; and
          (8) the growth in employment and wages at United 
        States-based small and medium-sized companies.
  (d) Activities.--The activities of a Center shall include--
          (1) the establishment of automated manufacturing 
        systems and other advanced production technologies, 
        based on Institute-supported research, for the purpose 
        of demonstrations and technology transfer;
          (2) the active transfer and dissemination of research 
        findings and Center expertise to a wide range of 
        companies and enterprises, particularly small and 
        medium-sized manufacturers; and
          (3) the facilitation of collaborations and 
        partnerships between small and medium-sized 
        manufacturing companies[, community colleges, and area 
        career and technical education schools,] and local high 
        schools, community colleges, and area career and 
        technical education schools, including those in 
        underserved and rural communities, to help those 
        entities better understand the specific needs of 
        manufacturers and to help manufacturers better 
        understand the skill sets that students learn in the 
        programs offered by such colleges and schools.
  (e) Financial Assistance.--
          (1) Authorization.--Except as provided in paragraph 
        (2), the Secretary may provide financial assistance for 
        the creation and support of a Center through a 
        cooperative agreement with an eligible entity.
          (2) Cost sharing.--The Secretary may not provide more 
        than 50 percent of the capital and annual operating and 
        maintenance funds required to establish and support a 
        Center.
          (3) Rule of construction.--For purposes of paragraph 
        (2), any amount received by an eligible entity for a 
        Center under a provision of law other than paragraph 
        (1) shall not be considered an amount provided under 
        paragraph (1).
          (4) Regulations.--The Secretary may revise or 
        promulgate such regulations as necessary to carry out 
        this subsection.
  (f) Applications.--
          (1) In general.--An eligible entity shall submit an 
        application to the Secretary at such time, in such 
        manner, and containing such information as the 
        Secretary may require.
          (2) Program description.--The Secretary shall 
        establish and update, as necessary--
                  (A) a description of the Program;
                  (B) the application procedures;
                  (C) performance metrics;
                  (D) criteria for determining qualified 
                applicants; and
                  (E) criteria for choosing recipients of 
                financial assistance from among the qualified 
                applicants.
                  (F) procedures for determining allowable cost 
                share contributions; and
                  (G) such other program policy objectives and 
                operational procedures as the Secretary 
                considers necessary.
          (3) Cost sharing.--
                  (A) In general.--To be considered for 
                financial assistance under this section, an 
                applicant shall provide adequate assurances 
                that the applicant and if applicable, the 
                applicant's partnering organizations, will 
                obtain funding for not less than 50 percent of 
                the capital and annual operating and 
                maintenance funds required to establish and 
                support the Center from sources other than the 
                financial assistance provided under subsection 
                (e).
                  (B) Agreements with other entities.--In 
                meeting the cost-sharing requirement under 
                subparagraph (A), an eligible entity may enter 
                into an agreement with 1 or more other 
                entities, such as a private industry, 
                institutions of higher education, or a State, 
                United States territory, local, or tribal 
                government for the contribution by that other 
                entity of funding if the Secretary determines 
                the agreement--
                          (i) is programmatically reasonable;
                          (ii) will help accomplish 
                        programmatic objectives; and
                          (iii) is allocable under Program 
                        procedures under subsection (f)(2).
          (4) Legal rights.--Each applicant shall include in 
        the application a proposal for the allocation of the 
        legal rights associated with any intellectual property 
        which may result from the activities of the Center.
          (5) Merit review of applications.--
                  (A) In general.--The Secretary shall subject 
                each application to merit review.
                  (B) Considerations.--In making a decision 
                whether to approve an application and provide 
                financial assistance under subsection (e), the 
                Secretary shall consider, at a minimum--
                          (i) the merits of the application, 
                        particularly those portions of the 
                        application regarding technology 
                        transfer, training and education, and 
                        adaptation of manufacturing 
                        technologies to the needs of particular 
                        industrial sectors;
                          (ii) the quality of service to be 
                        provided;
                          (iii) the geographical diversity and 
                        extent of the service area; and
                          (iv) the type and percentage of 
                        funding and in-kind commitment from 
                        other sources under paragraph (3).
  (g) Evaluations.--
          (1) Third and eighth year evaluations by panel.--
                  (A) In general.--The Secretary shall ensure 
                that each Center is evaluated during its third 
                and eighth years of operation by an evaluation 
                panel appointed by the Secretary.
                  (B) Composition.--The Secretary shall ensure 
                that each evaluation panel appointed under 
                subparagraph (A) is composed of--
                          (i) private experts, none of whom are 
                        connected with the Center evaluated by 
                        the panel; and
                          (ii) Federal officials.
                  (C) Chairperson.--For each evaluation panel 
                appointed under subparagraph (B), the Secretary 
                shall appoint a chairperson who is an official 
                of the Institute.
          (2) Fifth year evaluations by secretary.--In the 
        fifth year of operation of a Center, the Secretary 
        shall conduct a review of the Center.
          (3) Performance measurement.--In evaluating a Center 
        an evaluation panel or the Secretary, as applicable, 
        shall measure the performance of the Center against--
                  (A) the objective specified in subsection 
                (c);
                  (B) the performance metrics under subsection 
                (f)(2)(C); and
                  (C) such other criterion as considered 
                appropriate by the Secretary.
          (4) Positive evaluations.--If an evaluation of a 
        Center is positive, the Secretary may continue to 
        provide financial assistance for the Center--
                  (A) in the case of an evaluation occurring in 
                the third year of a Center, through the fifth 
                year of the Center;
                  (B) in the case of an evaluation occurring in 
                the fifth year of a Center, through the eighth 
                year of the Center; and
                  (C) in the case of an evaluation occurring in 
                the eighth year of a Center, through the tenth 
                year of the Center.
          (5) Other than positive evaluations.--
                  (A) Probation.--If an evaluation of a Center 
                is other than positive, the Secretary shall put 
                the Center on probation during the period 
                beginning on the date that the Center receives 
                notice under subparagraph (B)(i) and ending on 
                the date that the reevaluation is complete 
                under subparagraph (B)(iii).
                  (B) Notice and reevaluation.--If a Center 
                receives an evaluation that is other than 
                positive, the evaluation panel or Secretary, as 
                applicable, shall--
                          (i) notify the Center of the reason, 
                        including any deficiencies in the 
                        performance of the Center identified 
                        during the evaluation;
                          (ii) assist the Center in remedying 
                        the deficiencies by providing the 
                        Center, not less frequently than once 
                        every 3 months, an analysis of the 
                        Center, if considered appropriate by 
                        the panel or Secretary, as applicable; 
                        and
                          (iii) reevaluate the Center not later 
                        than 1 year after the date of the 
                        notice under clause (i).
                  (C) Continued support during period of 
                probation.--
                          (i) In general.--The Secretary may 
                        continue to provide financial 
                        assistance under subsection (e) for a 
                        Center during the probation period.
                          (ii) Post probation.--After the 
                        period of probation, the Secretary 
                        shall not provide any financial 
                        assistance unless the Center has 
                        received a positive evaluation under 
                        subparagraph (B)(iii).
          (6) Failure to remedy.--
                  (A) In general.--If a Center fails to remedy 
                a deficiency or to show significant improvement 
                in performance before the end of the probation 
                period under paragraph (5), the Secretary shall 
                conduct a competition to select an operator for 
                the Center under subsection (h).
                  (B) Treatment of centers subject to new 
                competition.--Upon the selection of an operator 
                for a Center under subsection (h), the Center 
                shall be considered a new Center and the 
                calculation of the years of operation of that 
                Center for purposes of paragraphs (1) through 
                (5) of this subsection and subsection (h)(1) 
                shall start anew.
  (h) Reapplication Competition for Financial Assistance After 
10 Years.--
          (1) In general.--If an eligible entity has operated a 
        Center under this section for a period of 10 
        consecutive years, the Secretary shall conduct a 
        competition to select an eligible entity to operate the 
        Center in accordance with the process plan under 
        subsection (i).
          (2) Incumbent eligible entities.--An eligible entity 
        that has received financial assistance under this 
        section for a period of 10 consecutive years and that 
        the Secretary determines is in good standing shall be 
        eligible to compete in the competition under paragraph 
        (1).
          (3) Treatment of centers subject to reapplication 
        competition.--Upon the selection of an operator for a 
        Center under paragraph (1), the Center shall be 
        considered a new Center and the calculation of the 
        years of operation of that Center for purposes of 
        paragraphs (1) through (5) of subsection (g) shall 
        start anew.
  (i) Process Plan.--Not later than 180 days after the date of 
the enactment of the American Innovation and Competitiveness 
Act, the Secretary shall implement and submit to Congress a 
plan for how the Institute will conduct an evaluation, 
competition, and reapplication competition under this section.
  (j) Operational Requirements.--
          (1) Protection of confidential information of center 
        clients.--The following information, if obtained by the 
        Federal Government in connection with an activity of a 
        Center or the Program, shall be exempt from public 
        disclosure under section 552 of title 5, United States 
        Code:
                  (A) Information on the business operation of 
                any participant in the Program or of a client 
                of a Center.
                  (B) Trade secrets of any client of a Center.
  (k) Oversight Boards.--
          (1) In general.--As a condition on receipt of 
        financial assistance for a Center under subsection (e), 
        an eligible entity shall establish a board to oversee 
        the operations of the Center.
          (2) Standards.--
                  (A) In general.--The Director shall establish 
                appropriate standards for each board described 
                under paragraph (1).
                  (B) Considerations.--In establishing the 
                standards, the Director shall take into account 
                the type and organizational structure of an 
                eligible entity.
                  (C) Requirements.--The standards shall 
                address--
                          (i) membership;
                          (ii) composition;
                          (iii) term limits;
                          (iv) conflicts of interest; and
                          (v) such other requirements as the 
                        Director considers necessary.
          (3) Membership.--
                  (A) In general.--Each board established under 
                paragraph (1) shall be composed of members as 
                follows:
                          (i) The membership of each board 
                        shall be representative of stakeholders 
                        in the region in which the Center is 
                        located.
                          (ii) A majority of the members of the 
                        board shall be selected from among 
                        individuals who own or are employed by 
                        small or medium-sized manufacturers.
                  (B) Limitation.--A member of a board 
                established under paragraph (1) may not serve 
                on more than 1 board established under that 
                paragraph.
          (4) Bylaws.--
                  (A) In general.--Each board established under 
                paragraph (1) shall adopt and submit to the 
                Director bylaws to govern the operation of the 
                board.
                  (B) Conflicts of interest.--Bylaws adopted 
                under subparagraph (A) shall include policies 
                to minimize conflicts of interest, including 
                such policies relating to disclosure of 
                relationships and recusal as may be necessary 
                to minimize conflicts of interest.
  (l) Acceptance of Funds.--In addition to such sums as may be 
appropriated to the Secretary and Director to operate the 
Program, the Secretary and Director may also accept funds from 
other Federal departments and agencies and from the private 
sector under section 2(c)(7) of this Act (15 U.S.C. 272(c)(7)), 
to be available to the extent provided by appropriations Acts, 
for the purpose of strengthening United States manufacturing.
  (m) MEP Advisory Board.--
          (1) Establishment.--There is established within the 
        Institute a Manufacturing Extension Partnership 
        Advisory Board.
          (2) Membership.--
                  (A) Composition.--
                          (i) In general.--The MEP Advisory 
                        Board shall consist of not fewer than 
                        10 members appointed by the Director 
                        and broadly representative of 
                        stakeholders.
                          (ii) Requirements.--Of the members 
                        appointed under clause (i)--
                                  (I) at least 2 members shall 
                                be employed by or on an 
                                advisory board for a Center;
                                  (II) at least 5 members shall 
                                be from United States small 
                                businesses in the manufacturing 
                                sector; and
                                  (III) at least 1 member shall 
                                represent a community college.
                          (iii) Limitation.--No member of the 
                        MEP Advisory Board shall be an employee 
                        of the Federal Government.
                  (B) Term.--Except as provided in subparagraph 
                (C), the term of office of each member of the 
                MEP Advisory Board shall be 3 years.
                  (C) Vacancies.--Any member appointed to fill 
                a vacancy occurring prior to the expiration of 
                the term for which his predecessor was 
                appointed shall be appointed for the remainder 
                of such term.
                  (D) Serving consecutive terms.--Any person 
                who has completed 2 consecutive full terms of 
                service on the MEP Advisory Board shall 
                thereafter be ineligible for appointment during 
                the 1-year period following the expiration of 
                the second such term.
          (3) Meetings.--The MEP Advisory Board shall--
                  (A) meet not less than biannually; and
                  (B) provide to the Director--
                          (i) advice on the activities, plans, 
                        and policies of the Program;
                          (ii) assessments of the soundness of 
                        the plans and strategies of the 
                        Program; and
                          (iii) assessments of current 
                        performance against the plans of the 
                        Program.
          (4) FACA applicability.--
                  (A) In general.--In discharging its duties 
                under this subsection, the MEP Advisory Board 
                shall function solely in an advisory capacity, 
                in accordance with the Federal Advisory 
                Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.).
                  (B) Exception.--Section 14 of the Federal 
                Advisory Committee Act shall not apply to the 
                MEP Advisory Board.
          (5) Annual report.--
                  (A) In general.--At a minimum, the MEP 
                Advisory Board shall transmit an annual report 
                to the Secretary for transmittal to Congress 
                not later than 30 days after the submission to 
                Congress of the President's annual budget under 
                section 1105 of title 31, United States Code.
                  (B) Contents.--The report shall address the 
                status of the Program and describe the relevant 
                sections of the programmatic planning document 
                and updates thereto transmitted to Congress by 
                the Director under subsections (c) and (d) of 
                section 23 (15 U.S.C. 278i).
  (n) Small Manufacturers.--
          (1) Evaluation of obstacles.--As part of the Program, 
        the Director shall--
                  (A) identify obstacles that prevent small 
                manufacturers from effectively competing in the 
                global market;
                  (B) implement a comprehensive plan to train 
                the Centers to address the obstacles identified 
                in paragraph (2); and
                  (C) facilitate improved communication between 
                the Centers to assist such manufacturers in 
                implementing appropriate, targeted solutions to 
                the obstacles identified in paragraph (2).
          (2) Development of open access resources.--As part of 
        the Program, the Secretary shall develop open access 
        resources that address best practices related to 
        inventory sourcing, supply chain management, 
        manufacturing techniques, available Federal resources, 
        and other topics to further the competitiveness and 
        profitability of small manufacturers.

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                 HIGH-PERFORMANCE COMPUTING ACT OF 1991



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TITLE I--NETWORKING AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

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SEC. 103. BROADBAND RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT WORKING GROUP.

  (a) In General.--The Director shall establish a broadband 
research and development working group to address national 
research challenges and opportunities for improving broadband 
access and adoption across the United States. 
  (b) Activities.--The working group shall identify and 
coordinate key research priorities for addressing broadband 
access and adoption, including--
          (1) promising research areas;
          (2) requirements for data collection and sharing;
          (3) opportunities for better alignment and 
        coordination across Federal agencies and external 
        stakeholders; and
          (4) input on the development of new Federal policies 
        and programs to enhance data collection and research.
  (c) Coordination.--The working group shall coordinate, as 
appropriate, with the Rural Broadband Integration Working Group 
established under section 6214 of the Agriculture Improvement 
Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-334) and the National Institute of 
Food and Agriculture of the Department of Agriculture.
  (d) Report.--The working group shall report to Congress on 
their activities as part of the annual report submitted under 
section 101(a)(2)(D).
  (e) Sunset.--The authority to carry out this section shall 
terminate on the date that is 5 years after the date of 
enactment of the Rural STEM Education Act.

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