Consistent with the recent Joint Statement of Principles in Support of International Education, the U.S. Department of State is proud to announce additional measures to further our support for increasing the flow of talent in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to benefit American communities.
The Early Career STEM Research Initiative seeks to connect BridgeUSA exchange sponsors with interested U.S.-based STEM host organizations (e.g., small and medium businesses) to increase the number of STEM-focused educational and cultural exchanges. The Department is also announcing an extension for undergraduate and graduate students in STEM fields on the J-1 visa that will facilitate additional academic training for periods of up to 36 months. The extension applies to the current (2021-22) and subsequent (2022-23) academic years.
International students, researchers, scholars, and exchange alumni contribute to the long-term economic health and competitiveness of the U.S. economy, contribute to U.S. leadership in research and innovation, and advance our diplomacy and mutual understanding between nations. In 2020, international students contributed more than $39 billion to our economy and supported an estimated 410,000 American jobs in cities and towns across our country. U.S. entities and businesses gain a competitive edge in our global economy with the perspectives and skillsets of international students and scholars, particularly in the STEM fields.
The Department is pleased to join the White House and interagency partners today in announcing these new actions as a continuation of our commitment to support increased economic prosperity and national security for the American people.