McAuliffe bill to increase number of STEM degrees becomes law

A bill sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe that became law as the regular session of the Legislature ended is designed to increase the number of degrees in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill April 23 that McAuliffe says will increase access to four-year college degrees in the STEM fields.

McAuliffe said in a press release that the bill would provide “an additional pathway for students to access educational opportunities that lead to high demand science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.”

McAuliffe said that the bill “aligns high-demand secondary STEM or Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs with applied baccalaureate programs.”

Community and technical colleges put STEM baccalaureate degrees within reach for middle- and lower-income students, said McAuliffe, who describes herself as an unwavering STEM curriculum advocate. “This new law connects these students with the opportunity for in-demand careers by offering STEM degrees.”

She said that the new law requires the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges to select colleges to develop and offer two programs of study that lead to applied baccalaureate degrees. These programs must support the continuation of high-quality STEM or CTE programs offered to students in kindergarten through grade 12 who are prepared and aspire to continue in these high-demand areas in college and the workforce.

She noted that community and technical colleges offer 13 applied bachelors’ degrees at eight community- and technical-college campuses around the state.

McAuliffe represents the 1st Legislative District, including most of Mountlake Terrace, all of Brier and Bothell, north Kirkland, unincorporated areas of King County between Bothell and Kirkland, and unincorporated areas of Snohomish County north and east of Bothell.

Evan Smith can be reached at schsmith@frontier.com.

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