Cantwell Says CHIPS and Science Act Key to Advancing U.S. Computing Technologies & Building the Workforce to Drive it

September 29, 2022

Cantwell:  “Leading the world in computation grows the economy, creates new jobs and keeps America safe. Computing helped put Americans on the Moon, develop faster and stealthier planes, better weather forecasting…. That is why the CHIPS and Science Act was so focused on building America’s computing capabilities.”

“Funding for CHIPS and Science must not stop with the appropriations for chip manufacturing. America needs access to better chips, but it also needs the research and the workforce to put those chips to use.


U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, underscored the need to fully fund the CHIPS and Science Act STEM education programs and build a competitive, highly-skilled workforce – the workforce needed for American leadership in key areas like artificial intelligence, quantum science, distributed ledger technologies and the semiconductors that power the computer industry. Sen. Cantwell made these remarks during today’s Commerce Committee hearing on Securing U.S. Leadership in Emerging Compute Technologies, where members heard from technology, computing and blockchain expert witnesses from the University of Washington, Anthropic, Mississippi State University, University of Wyoming, ColdQuanta and the University of Southern Mississippi.

“Funding for CHIPS and Science must not stop with the appropriations for chip manufacturing,” Sen. Cantwell said. America needs access to better chips, but it also needs the research and the workforce to put those chips to use.

“Job openings in these areas are soaring, but the number of workers definitely is not keeping pace,” Sen. Cantwell added. “This is a crisis. That’s why the CHIPS and Science Act authorized $13 billion for STEM education, including funds for nearly 40,000 scholarships, fellowships, and traineeships. That’s why it has money for faculty hiring and training. Make no mistake, America’s workforce shortages are serious. Failing to make these investments and failing to retain the talent from around the world is not an option.”

Chair Cantwell chairing today’s hearing

“Earlier this year Congress took a bold step to ensure that the United States is equipped to be a global leader in science and innovation with the passing of the CHIPS and Science Act… and I am here today to urge you to continue to invest in our federal science agencies and initiatives empowered by CHIPS. Sustained federal investment in these programs are essential for our nation to remain a leader in a fierce global landscape, to leverage opportunities for collaboration between government, academic and business sectors, and to build a workforce that reflects the rich diversity of our nation,” said Dr. Nancy Albritton, Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Washington.

“Well I do believe [the quantum race] comes down to talent. And it comes down to skills, ultimately. There has to be somebody that develops this technology, there has to be somebody to use the technology efficiently… either we can train the people we have or we can get them [from overseas]” said Dr. Bob Sutor, Vice President of Corporate Development at ColdQuanta.

Nationwide, the United States is expected to add one million jobs related to artificial intelligence and data science between 2019 and 2029. Washington state employers alone add more than 6,000 computer science-related jobs yearly, but the state only graduates about one half as many bachelor’s degrees in these fields. The CHIPS and Science Act contains several programs to incentivize faculty hiring, build research and educational capacity, and to increase the number of students entering science, technology, engineering, and mathematics professions.

View Chair Cantwell’s transcript here and the video here.

View the witness testimonies here.