ATLANTA — If you're thinking about pursuing a STEM career, your first choice may not be to attend a school in Central Georgia.
However, that could change soon.
U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock is talking about a bill to support what he calls "tech hubs" in Central Georgia.
The bill proposes "tech hubs," cities that serve as centers for advanced tech and commerce.
Warnock says that would benefit students at smaller universities like Middle Georgia State University and Mercer University.
"I'd like to see some of the smaller universities and colleges compete," Warnock said.
Warnock calls it a bipartisan $280 billion investment in STEM, workforce training, and research and development.
He says, the funding should help universities in Central Georgia compete against UGA and Georgia Tech.
"I was born and raised in Georgia, educated in our state. I know we have the best and brightest minds in Georgia. We hope to both maintain the incredible talent that we have in Warner Robins and in middle Georgia and also attract others," Warnock said.
Middle Georgia State University Department of Natural Sciences, Chair Dawn Sherry says, the funding could provide new equipment to her students.
"That would be great because I think that would, in turn, keep people in this area and not having them more off to more traditional tech sites, like California or New York," Sherry said.
Houston County Chairman Tommy Stalnaker thinks tech hubs would boost Houston's current tech initiatives.
"I think you're going to see the Development Authority in Houston County focus their attention going forward on meeting those needs for the future of IT in this county," Stalnaker said.
Warnock's office says, the commerce department plans to create at least 20 hubs and at least one-third of those "benefiting rural and small communities."
"Making more financial resources available to some of the smaller schools means we are making them more available to a different population of students that we otherwise would not have been able to; and I think that's truly an exciting opportunity for Middle Georgia State University students," Sherry said.
Warnock hopes to also support the future of Robins Air Force Base.
"This is going to be a 'win-win' for jobs and for the economy," Warnock said.
Warnock's office also says the bill would also fund more than $40 billion to domestic chip and semiconductor manufacturing.
13WMAZ also reached out to Herschel Walker's campaign for a comment about what he'd do to boost Robins Air Force Base.
She did not hear back from them.
The bill passed the U.S. House Thursday by a 243-187 vote, and heads to President Biden for his signature.
In Central Georgia, Congressman Sanford Bishop voted yes.
He's a Democrat.
Republicans Austin Scott, Rick Allen, and Jody Hice, voted no.
In a statement, Allen, who represents the Dublin area, called it a joke filled with government handouts and wasteful spending.