The House passed the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Homeland Security Partnerships Act, which is intended to strengthen the partnerships between HBCUs and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
“Minority communities are disproportionately impacted by natural hazards and disasters. It is imperative that the students from those communities – HBCU and MSI students – are not left on the sidelines and are encouraged to contribute to their communities and are equipped to respond,” said the bill’s sponsor, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.). “Enactment of my bill will take a step in this direction. It requires DHS to develop a strategy to strengthen its capacity to provide research and development, contracting, internship and career opportunities to HBCUs, MSIs, their students or recent graduates. I hope my Senate colleagues take up this legislation quickly.”
In 2017, the Trump Administration established an initiative to provide equitable opportunities for HBCUs to participate in Federal programs – however, in practice, Thompson said, the partnerships between DHS and HBCUs have fallen short of the department’s stated priorities.
The HBCUs Homeland Security Partnerships Act would require DHS to issue a goal-based strategy to achieve stronger partnerships with HBCUs – and then monitor and report on that strategy, thereby ensuring the department’s progress in providing contracting, research and development, and career opportunities to HBCUs and minority-serving institutions.