Sens. Peters, Thune Introduce Bill to Boost AI Workforce Through Scholarships

Sens. Gary Peters D-Mich., and John Thune, R-S.D., have introduced legislation that would strengthen the Federal workforce through attracting experts in the AI field to public service.

The AI Scholarship-for-Service Act is would offer scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students who study AI – and related fields – in exchange for service in the public sector upon degree completion. The legislation is endorsed by Dakota State University, University of Michigan, Carnegie-Mellon University, the Internet Association, and BSA|The Software Alliance.

“South Dakota universities like Dakota State University are leading the way in AI education,” said Thune in a press release. “By incentivizing more talent to pursue training in this field, we can ensure America remains competitive globally in this emerging technology.”

In the press release, the senators cite experts at the National Security Commission on AI and the Center for Security and Emerging Technology who say there is a shortage of professionals who are qualified to work in the AI field. The AI Scholarship-for-Service Act would “strengthen the AI Federal workforce by providing scholarships through qualified educational institutions to students who are studying AI” in exchange for those students serving “a length of time equal to the scholarship term in the AI mission of a Federal agency.”

“As advancements in artificial intelligence continue, the Federal government must be prepared to promote ethical applications based on American values to counter competitors like the Chinese government, which prioritizes investments in this revolutionary technology,” said Peters. “Incentivizing professionals who are studying this emerging field to serve in the public sector will help our country remain competitive in the long term, strengthen our national security and ensure this technology is used ethically for the benefit of all Americans.”

Jordan Smith
About Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is MeriTalk SLG's Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.