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RELEASE: Khanna Introduces Groundbreaking 21st Century Jobs Package

October 27, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17) introduced a landmark jobs package to ensure the future of work is accessible to every American and that the U.S. leads the digital age. Khanna’s plan will create a Federal Institute of Technology (FIT), with approx. 30 locations spread across the country, and allocates $900 billion in R&D funding for emerging technologies like Advanced Manufacturing, Synthetic Biology, Artificial intelligence, Biotechnology, and Cybersecurity.

The 21st Century Jobs Package also includes:

  1. Funding for better and more widespread STEM instruction in public schools, specifically focused on Computer Science. Currently, only 19 states give high schoolers access to Computer Science (CS) courses. Under Rep. Khanna’s plan, CS will be a mandated component of any public-school curriculum for all K-12 students nationwide. 
  2. STEM scholarships for students left behind. In 2016, 331,000 STEM bachelor’s degrees were conferred in the U.S. Nearly 218,000 went to white students, compared to only 57,000 for Black, Latinx, and Indigenous graduates combined. For the Class of 2011, only 39,116 rural high school graduates completed STEM degrees within six years, compared with 128,051 non-rural high school graduates over that same time period. Rep. Khanna’s package will provide the funds to close that gap and bring more Americans into the technology revolution. 
  3. Tax incentives for the federal government’s contractors to locate part of their workforce in rural and forgotten areas across America. Companies will be eligible to claim the tax credit by hiring a person who attended a FIT or received the rural/minority STEM scholarship. These types of incentives will encourage companies to hire American workers from historically underserved regions of the country. 
  4. $8 billion toward teacher training in STEM fields. America has underinvested in the very educators needed to make this vision a reality. Rep. Khanna’s plan lays out a pathway to train, certify, and expand development programs for educators working in both local and higher education. 

“Rep. Khanna’s 21st Century Jobs Act is exactly the type of ambitious and visionary plan that we need to return America to its place at the front of the technological frontier – and to create the millions of jobs that would flow from that leadership,” said Jonathan Gruber and Simon Johnson, MIT professors and authors of Jump-Starting America: How Breakthrough Science Can Revive Economic Growth and the American Dream. “Government investments in science in the decades after World War II created the greatest middle class the world has ever seen.  This bill will make sure that the jobs of the future are in the U.S., and that they will be spread all around our great nation, rather than focused on a small set of ‘superstar cities’.  The U.S. is at a crossroads.  We face threats both external, from other countries who are beating us to invent the job-creating technologies of the future, and internal, from the growing economic and political divisions around our country. This bill is the shot in the arm that we need to solve both of these problems in a comprehensive way” 

“To his immense credit, Rep Khanna is proposing a way to get the U.S. back in the long-neglected business of forward-looking research and development,” said Jared Bernstein, former chief economist to Vice President Biden. “We’ve got tremendous international catch-up to do in this space, and this proposal is the first I’ve seen that’s scaled to the magnitude of the challenge.”

“Ro Khanna’s 21st Century Jobs Package is advancing an important, ambitious agenda that would both increase economic growth and also help more people benefit from that growth,” said Jason Furman, Professor of the Practice of Economic Policy, Harvard University and Former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, 2013-17. “Khanna’s proposal would unleash the largest race to the top in American history as areas around the country compete not to provide tax benefits for private companies but instead to improve education, infrastructure, housing, and the climate for local innovation and development.”

"The US needs to spend more on R&D and reclaim global technology leadership,” said Daron Acemoglu, Institute Professor, MIT. “This bold package is timely and constitutes an important step in the right direction."

Original Cosponsors: Rep. Barragán (CA-44), Rep. DelBene (WA-1), Rep. Evans (PA-3), Rep. Himes (CT-4), Rep. Jayapal (WA-7) Rep. Ryan (OH- 13), Rep. Soto (FL-9), Rep. Thompson (MS-2)

You can read the full bill text here and a 2-page white paper here.  


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About the Office

Congressman Khanna represents the 17th District of California, which covers communities in Silicon Valley. Visit his website at Follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @RepRoKhanna.