Project Lead The Way President Testifies before Congressional Committee, Defines Solutions to America’s Skills Gap

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 13, 2013) – Project Lead The Way (PLTW) President and CEO Dr. Vince Bertram testified about the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in solving America’s skills gap before the Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Subcommittee on Research of the U.S. House of Representatives today. PLTW is the nation’s leading provider of rigorous STEM education to prepare students for the global economy.

The hearing, titled “STEM Education: Industry and Philanthropic Initiatives,” focused on the role of STEM education in the economy. In the next decade, the United States will require one million more STEM professionals than are being produced at the current rate. PLTW was the only in-school STEM curriculum provider invited to testify. Intel Corporation, Honeywell, and The Museum of Science and Industry were also present.

“The United States will have more than 1.2 million unfilled jobs in STEM-related fields by 2018, yet employers may be short as many as three million high skilled workers to fill those jobs,” Bertram said. “If we are to succeed as a nation, our students must be prepared for post-secondary success in the global economy. We must work swiftly to address this crisis by building a pipeline of well-educated STEM professionals. Project Lead The Way is doing this work.”

Bertram’s testimony highlighted PLTW’s world-class curriculum, teacher professional development, successful partnerships with the nation’s leading companies and organizations, and the engaged network of educators, STEM professionals, and thought leaders.

“PLTW is fortunate to partner with the best and most passionate STEM professionals in each state. Only through the continued promotion of these ideals can PLTW continue engaging new students and help them meet their full potential,” Bertram said.

As the nation’s leading STEM education provider, PLTW has programs in more than 4,700 middle and high schools and reaches more than 500,000 students in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“Decisions are made by students at a very early age about whether they are good at math and science,” Bertram said Wednesday. “Students must be inspired before they are exposed to low expectations. PLTW does not train engineers. We train critical thinkers and problem solvers. We know our students will go into any number of career paths, and we believe our students will be in a much better position to contribute to our country in meaningful ways."

Students who participate in PLTW courses are five to 10 times more likely than their non-PLTW peers to study a STEM-related field in college. Students who move into STEM-related jobs command higher wages, earning 26 percent more than those working in non-STEM fields.

Ninety percent of PLTW’s students go on to pursue post-secondary degrees. Of those students, 70 percent pursue degrees in areas like engineering and computer science.

After Bertram’s testimony, Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) remarked: “STEM education and educating the next generation is one of the most important things we can do as a nation. I’m happy to see Intel and PLTW on this panel today.”