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Hirono Promotes Hawai’i STEM Opportunities

June 22, 2016, 7:22 PM HST (Updated June 22, 2016, 7:32 PM) · 2 Comments
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Senator Mazie K. Hirono and leaders of the Maui Economic Development Board met with senior leaders at the National Security Agency Headquarters, near Washington D.C., to discuss promoting science, technology, engineering and math or ‘STEM’ careers.

MEDB’s Women in Technology and STEM education programs currently work with schools, private companies, and the federal government to provide Hawai’i students opportunities to explore STEM careers.

Left to right: Isla Young, Maui Economic Development Board K-12 STEM Education Director, Senator Hirono, and Leslie Wilkins, MEDB Vice President and Women in Technology Program Director. Photo Courtesy.

Left to right: Isla Young, Maui Economic Development Board K-12 STEM Education Director, Senator Hirono, and Leslie Wilkins, MEDB Vice President and Women in Technology Program Director. Photo Courtesy.

“Maui Economic Development Board’s Women in Technology and STEM education programs have opened doors of opportunity to many Hawai’i students who want to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math,” said Sen. Hirono.

“As the NSA and other federal agencies make workforce diversity a priority, collaboration with organizations such as MEDB is mutually beneficial. I look forward to continuing to foster collaborations such as this one to give Hawai’i students greater opportunities to compete and succeed in a 21st century economy.”

Senator Hirono also discussed Hawai’i’s STEM efforts with NSA Hawai’i Commander Captain Cliff Bean, including a partnership with the University of Hawai’i and Honolulu Community College to conduct GenCyber Camps for students and teachers across the state in 2016.

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As a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Hirono also successfully included two amendments in the 2017 Intelligence Authorization Act to support Hawai’i’s STEM pipeline. The bill was recently approved by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and currently awaits action by the full US Senate.

One provision would require the US intelligence community to evaluate existing intelligence community academic programs that grow and diversify the cyber workforce, including the NSA’s National Centers of Excellence in Cyber Defense program. UH Mānoa, UH-West Oahu, and Honolulu Community College are currently designated as Centers of Excellence in Cyber Defense by the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security.

The second provision would promote STEM outreach and recruiting efforts across the US intelligence community by requiring the Director of National Intelligence to provide a five-year investment strategy for outreach and recruiting efforts to meet STEM employment goals. It would also require all intelligence agencies to submit detailed plans to support this strategy, including budget justification documents for the next five fiscal years.

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