Central Georgia could become a regional tech hub with new Senate bill

“Having this equipment here means that students could follow the entire research from start to finish.”

MACON, Ga. (41NBC/WMGT)—If you’re considering going to college for a STEM career, your first choice probably isn’t a school in Central Georgia. A bill in the US Senate could potentially change that, as it would double national science funding for schools.

The chair of Middle Georgia State University’s Department of Natural Sciences, Dr. Dawn Sherry, says that if the bill passes, they hope to have access to funding to purchase more high-tech equipment.

“We can get them to a certain point and then they have to send their samples to a lab to be tested,” Dr Sherry explained. “Having this equipment here means that students could follow the entire research from start to finish.”

The bill also includes a study by two MIT professors who identified more than 100 US cities with potential to become regional tech hubs. One of the towns is Warner Robins. Senator Raphael Warnock says he is working to make this a reality.

“It just corroborates what we already know with Warner Robins Air Force Base there,” Senator Warnock said. “The incredible talent that’s in Central Georgia, they (Warner Robins) would be in a good position for that.”

Senator Warnock says average Georgians shouldn’t have to move to places like Silicon Valley or New York to work in STEM or tech careers.

“Making this bill happen will help with the kind of investment and resources needed to keep our talent in Georgia,” Senator Warnock said.

Dr. Sherry says the new bill could help give schools in rural areas a competitive edge. It could also provide a more comprehensive education for students who attend these schools.

“This grant that may be available would help level the playing field and open particularly expensive items. Science is expensive, which could really increase opportunities for these students,” Dr. Sherry said.

Senator Warnock says two different versions of the bill passed the House and the Senate last year. The Conference Committee is working to combine these bills. The senator says he hopes the final version will pass before the end of the working session.

Norman D. Briggs