ATE - FY 10 House Committee letter

July 7, 2009
The Honorable David Obey, Chair
House Committee on Appropriations
One Dupont Circle, NW
Suite 410
Washington, DC 20036
[T] 202.728.0200
[P] 202.833.2467
The Honorable Alan Mollohan, Chair
House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairmen Obey and Mollohan:
I am writing on behalf of the American Association of Community Colleges and
the 1,195 institutions it represents with regard to the deep funding cut to the National
Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program in the FY
2010 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) and Related Agencies appropriations
Community colleges across the nation were dismayed to learn of this cut to a
program that provides vital support to their science, technology, engineering and
mathematics (STEM) programs. The ATE program is the NSF’s flagship community
college program and FY 2009 marked its 16th year in operation. Over that time span,
we have appreciated the committee’s support for the program, which has grown from
$5 million to nearly $52 million in FY 09. Yet, after this long and successful history,
the committee implies in its report that this program is ill-suited to the NSF’s purposes.
We strongly disagree with this assertion.
STEM education is one of NSF’s core missions. The ATE program is the primary
source of federal support for technician education, an often overlooked aspect of the
STEM workforce, but a crucial one. ATE provides students with the core knowledge
and skills required by the industries of our present and future economy, such as
biotechnology, alternative energy and nanotechnology to name a few. It is equally
prized by the large number of business partners that work with ATE grantees and
employ their graduates. The ATE program has also played a vital role in the
preparation of future K-12 science and math teachers. My staff and I will be happy to
provide you with any information about the program that you require.
The administration, like its predecessors, has recognized the program’s value by
requesting a $12.4 million increase, to $64 million, with a long range goal of growing
the program to $100 million by FY 13. AACC wholeheartedly endorses this proposal.
The Senate CJS bill funds this request. When this legislation comes to conference, I
urge you to reconsider your position and fund the ATE program at $64 million.
George R. Boggs
President and CEO