Peters & Thune Introduce Legislation to Strengthen Future Federal Workforce’s Capabilities in Artificial Intelligence

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and John Thune (R-SD) introduced bipartisan legislation to help ensure the federal government can compete with the private sector to employ experts in the artificial intelligence (AI) field. The bill would offer scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students studying AI and related fields in exchange for service in the public sector upon completion of degrees.

“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 Senator 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.”

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

According to the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence and other experts such as the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), there is a shortage of professionals who are qualified to work in the AI field. To lead the development and appropriate usage of this technology, the federal government will need to attract talent that is also in high demand by the private sector. 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 and related fields. In exchange, graduates would be required serve for a length of time equal to the scholarship term in the AI mission of a federal agency. The bill would also provide internships or other work experiences to scholarship recipients and place them in federal, state, local, and tribal government positions after graduation.

The AI Scholarship-for-Service Act has been endorsed by the University of Michigan, Dakota State University, Carnegie-Mellon University, the Internet Association, and BSA|The Software Alliance.