Governor Parson signs STEM education and computer science bill

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed into law House Bill 3 at Grand Center Arts Academy in St. Louis and at Poplar Bluff High School in Poplar Bluff on Tuesday.

“Improving our workforce is a top priority with this administration, and in order to help move Missouri forward, we need to expand opportunities for our students,” Parson said. “Missouri currently has a high demand in this field, and by signing this bill, our students will be able to get the proper training to succeed in computing jobs. I want to thank Sen. Doug Libla, Rep. Travis Fitzwater, and the entire General Assembly for their dedication over the recent special session.”

Passed during a special legislative session called by the Governor in September, HB 3 deals with computer science, expanding course opportunities for high school students, creating a certification process for teachers, establishing a fund for any future public and private financial support, and developing curriculum standards.

“Today, many computer science jobs go unfilled because not enough high school students have been trained for the jobs,” Sen. Doug Libla, R-Poplar Bluff said. “By improving computer science education in the state, we can better prepare our students for the many companies that desire and depend on these skills.”

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Travis Fitzwater, R-Holts Summit and handled in the Senate by Sen. Doug Libla, R-Poplar Bluff. The bill received broad public support by a number of business and education organizations from across the state.

“If we want to see long-term economic prosperity for our state, it’s critical that we develop a well-trained workforce that is ready and willing to fill jobs in the fastest growing fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” Fitzwater said. “I want to thank the governor and my colleagues in the legislature for supporting this piece of legislation that will allow us to raise awareness of the STEM career paths and open the doors of opportunity for young people in all parts of our state.”

“As previously noted by Governor Parson, we live and work in a world in which technology is increasingly pervasive. We owe it to our students to provide opportunities to explore and learn about this burgeoning field through the application of an online delivery system. By promoting unfettered access to this vital curriculum, we ensure that all students have the tools requisite to their future personal success as well as safeguarding the economic stability of our community, the region and the state,” Dr. Scott Dill, Superintendent, Poplar Bluff School District said. “We look forward to working with Governor Parson and Senator Libla as we continue to craft new learning opportunities for all students in Missouri.”

With the signing of House Bill 3, both bills have been completed that were sent to the Governor during special session last month. Parson signed House Bill 2, which expanded treatment courts, last week.

“We’d like to thank Gov. Mike Parson for signing this important legislation into law. Missouri employers are facing a substantial shortage of qualified STEM and computer science workers right now,” Dan Mehan, President/CEO, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry said. “By calling legislators back to Jefferson City for a special session and by signing this new law, Gov. Parson is making workforce a priority in our state. We greatly appreciate this effort to help equip more Missourians with valuable skills that today’s employers need.”