01/17/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 01/17/2020 11:02
Building on his commitment to prepare students with the computer and technology skills for in-demand jobs, Governor Tom Wolf today announced $5.7 million in PAsmart Targeted grants to expand computer science (CS) classes and teacher training at 163 school districts, charter schools and intermediate units.
The Targeted grants represent one component of the governor's innovative PAsmart initiative, which will provide $20 million to bring high-quality computer science and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in elementary, middle, and high schools, and professional development for teachers.
'PAsmart is strategically investing in science and technology education so students develop the skills they need for high-demand jobs,' said Governor Wolf. 'To be successful, we must also invest in our educators by providing them the training to teach these critical subjects.
'Through PAsmart, we are developing the most prepared and talented workforce in the country, which will help students excel, grow the middle class, and strengthen the economy for everyone,' he said.
Over the next 10 years, 71 percent of new jobs in Pennsylvania will require employees to use computers and new technologies.
Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera made the grant announcement today during the Allegheny Intermediate Unit's annual STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) Showcase. The event has become the premier demonstration of STEAM learning in Pennsylvania, drawing nearly 600 teachers, parents, administrators and school board members from more than 40 school districts and 25 partner organizations.
'Job growth in the STEM and computer science field is driving the Pennsylvania and national economies, and Governor Wolf recognizes that expanding access to these programs is absolutely critical to preparing students for an ever-changing workforce,' said Secretary Rivera. 'PAsmart grants help train educators so they are providing high-quality STEM and computer science instruction and experiences in their classrooms to students of all ages, including those who have been historically underserved and underrepresented in these opportunities and fields.'
Each Targeted grant recipient will receive $35,000. The grants help schools introduce and expand computer science programming and to provide educators from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 with training to teach CS. The 163 new Targeted grant awardees have prioritized expanding access to computer science for underrepresented students, such as students of color, girls, low-income students and students in rural communities.
As a result of the 2018-19 Targeted grants, more than 1,100 teachers have received training to teach STEM and computer science.
Additional funding through PAsmart Advancing grants will be announced in the coming weeks.
The governor secured $30 million for PAsmart last year and $40 million this year. PDE will award $20 million between the Targeted and Advancing grants. The Department of Labor and Industry will soon announce $10 million for apprenticeship and job training grants. Funding for career and technical education also increased by $10 million.
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