Rep. Richard Hanna is hoping a competition for students studying science, math, and engineering will encourage them to go into the field after they complete school.
The subjects are commonly known as STEM, and Hanna has made STEM education a key platform.
The Republican congressman toured two middle schools in his district Friday, which stretches from Utica to Binghamton, to promote the competition. He says STEM offers better career options than many other fields.
"Unemployment rates are half, wages are double. And it's the most affirmative way to rebuild the middle class, is to help people get into a category of jobs that there's a big demand for, and the pays are higher," said Hanna.
The competition is for students who design a new computer or mobile application, and is being held in congressional districts across the nation. Winners will be honored by the House of Representatives.