LANSING — State Representative Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) introduced House Bill 5161 recently that would establish the Battlefield to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Educational Grant Program for Michigan veterans who are enrolled in STEM degree programs at Michigan’s public community colleges and universities.

“According to the most recent federal statistics, unemployment for post-9/11 Michigan veterans was more than 6 percent, and we hear often that STEM jobs here in Michigan are going unfilled because we aren’t producing enough graduates to fill STEM career pathways,” said Dianda. “Offering this grant program will encourage our veterans to stay in a STEM program that will prepare them for stable, well-paying jobs. That’s a win-win for our state and our veterans,” said Dianda.

The grant created in the bill would award up to $5,000 for an eligible veteran who is a full-time student after their first year of study in a STEM degree program. The eligible STEM degree programs would be those determined by the Department of Homeland Security, or degree programs in applied health sciences such as nursing, physical therapy and others. Eligible veterans include those who have served on active duty for at least 180 days and have received an honorable or general discharge, or was discharged due to a service-connected disability. Veterans include those who have served in the armed forces including the National Guard.

To receive the grant, a student must be a Michigan resident, have received their high school diploma or GED in Michigan, and maintain a minimum 2.0 grade point average in their qualifying degree program.

“Our veterans and their families have sacrificed much to protect us, and I believe that it’s our duty to help veterans train and find a good job when they come home,” said Dianda. “Helping these men and women invest in their future is a good way to pay them back for their service. I look forward to the support of my colleagues, and I hope my bill sees quick action by the Legislature.”