$1 Million Grant Will Expand K-12 Career Pathways
WORCESTER, Mass. – The Administration of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito today awarded a $1 million grant to Project Lead The Way (PLTW) that will help expand computer science and engineering education for students in grades 6-12 at 45 schools across the Commonwealth.
The STEM High-Quality Career Pathway Capacity Grant given to PLTW is intended to increase student access to project-based STEM courses. PLTW is a nonprofit organization that provides transformative learning experiences for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S. In selecting the 45 schools that will receive grant funding, schools in districts that are building STEM pathways across all grade levels received priority.
Of the $1 million grant, $750,000 came from the state of Massachusetts, along with a matching grant from the One8 Foundation totaling more than $300,000. The One8 Foundation, a Massachusetts-based philanthropic organization focused on improving the lives of youth and families, provided matching grant funds to expand the number of schools that benefit from the grant.
“Increasing educational opportunities in STEM is critical to prepare our students with the education and skills they will need to be successful in industries that are thriving in the Commonwealth,” Gov. Charlie Baker said. “This grant will help address the challenges we face in our state’s innovation economy – that is the gap between available jobs in STEM fields and qualified workers able to fill those jobs.”
“The STEM Advisory Council recently identified the need to broaden access to high-quality computer science and engineering education,” said Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, who co-chairs the STEM Advisory Council. “The grant funding announced today will give more students knowledge and exposure to STEM fields, increasing the likelihood that they will consider careers as computer specialists, scientists, engineers, healthcare providers and researchers.”
“This grant program will empower students to learn, and apply, in-demand skills in computer science, engineering and biomedical science. Project Lead The Way is known for creating curriculum that not only teaches students technical skills, but also how to problem solve, think critically and collaborate,” Education Secretary James Peyser said. “This grant will also provide teachers with the resources they need to engage students in STEM studies.”
The STEM High-Quality Career Pathway Capacity Grant is overseen by the Executive Office of Education in conjunction with the STEM Advisory Council and the Governor’s Workforce Skills Cabinet. The STEM Advisory Council serves as the coordinating entity, bringing together participants from state agencies, the Legislature, and members of the public and private sectors involved in STEM education planning and programming.
“We are proud to partner with the Baker-Polito Administration, the Massachusetts STEM Advisory Council, and the One8 Foundation and Mass STEM Hub to expand access to high-quality career learning experiences for students and teachers throughout the state,” said Dr. Rex Bolinger, PLTW senior vice president and chief partnerships officer. “Together through this partnership, we will empower students with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in our evolving world and continue building on the great work already being done here in Massachusetts.”
PLTW programs align with the state’s Science, Technology, and Engineering, and Digital Literacy and Computer Science Curriculum Frameworks, and will provide intensive professional development for teachers.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute acts as the professional development partner of PLTW in Massachusetts. Mass STEM Hub is a project of the One8 Foundation and will be working in partnership with PLTW and WPI to provide additional implementation support to schools.
Lt. Gov. Polito announced the grant, and the schools that will benefit from it, while visiting Doherty High School in Worcester. The Lt. Governor joined local school officials to visit classrooms set up to teach PLTW’s Principles of Engineering and Introduction to Engineering Design courses.
About the STEM Advisory Council
The vision of the STEM Advisory Council is to ensure all students in the Commonwealth receive comprehensive STEM education from highly-qualified educators so they are better informed and prepared to pursue post-secondary degrees or careers in these areas. Members of the Council include individuals from academia, business, government and non-profits who are well positioned to provide elevated awareness to the benefits of a STEM literate and skilled citizenry able to fill the ranks of the 21st Century workforce. Building on earlier initiatives, the Governor’s Advisory Council on STEM is now authorized by Section 218 of Chapter 6 of Massachusetts General Law. For more information, please visit http://www.mass.edu/stem/home.asp.
About PLTW Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S. PLTW empowers students to develop in-demand, transportable knowledge and skills through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. PLTW’s teacher training and resources support teachers as they engage their students in real-world learning. More than 9,000 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer PLTW programs. For more information on Project Lead The Way, visit pltw.org.
Jennifer Cahill, PLTW senior director of media and PR