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05/25/2017

Pennsylvania Department of Education Announces the Creation of Regional STEM Ecosystem

Harrisburg, PA - The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) today announced that it has received national recognition for another Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) ecosystem in the commonwealth, bringing the total of formally-recognized regional ecosystems to five.

“There are abundant opportunities available for careers in STEM fields, and we know that students interested in these fields deserve access to training programs and cooperatives that can help them develop needed skills and knowledge,” Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera said. “These regional ecosystems bring STEM education to communities across the commonwealth, providing students from all areas with the resources and tools they need to pursue an interest in science and technology.”

The National STEM Funders Network, which aims to assist states in enhancing equity and quality of STEM learning outcomes by reducing barriers within STEM educational systems is supporting the partnership between the Bucks/Chester/Delaware/Montgomery County intermediate units. Pennsylvania has been recognized as a national leader in STEM education for the collaboration between the state’s STEM ecosystems.

STEM learning ecosystems encompass schools, businesses, community settings including after-school and summer programs, science centers and museums, and other environments that together constitute a rich array of learning opportunities. Learning ecosystems harness the unique contributions of these different settings to deliver STEM experiences to all children. Designed pathways enable students to become engaged, knowledgeable, and skilled in the STEM disciplines as they progress through childhood into adolescence and early adulthood.

In addition to the new partnership, existing formally-recognized regional ecosystems include: Philadelphia STEM Ecosystem (STEMcityPHL), Lancaster County STEM Alliance, Schuylkill/Carbon/Luzerne Region Ecosystem, Pittsburgh Area STEM Ecosystem. Additionally, four non-formal ecosystems, also called communities of practice, are operating across the state. Those communities include: ABC CREATE (a STEM partnership forged within Butler, Westmoreland, Alleghany, and Armstrong counties), Beaver County Innovation and Learning Consortium, Southwest Aquaponics Consortium, and a collaboration between BLaST Intermediate Unit 17, Central Intermediate Unit 10, and the Center for Science and the Schools at Penn State University.

Since taking office, Governor Wolf has demonstrated a commitment to STEM education in the commonwealth. The Administration aims to increase enrollment in STEM-specific majors at state-supported postsecondary institutions by 10,000 by 2020. By 2018, there will be approximately 300,000 Pennsylvania jobs that require STEM skills or content knowledge, and over the next ten years, 71 percent of new jobs will require computer science skills.

Under Governor Wolf’s leadership, Pennsylvania has made early and important progress in delivering more resources to schools and classrooms, and fostering collaborative, cross-sector dialogue to support STEM education, work-based learning, career pathways, and college access and completion.

For more information about Pennsylvania’s education policies and programs, or to read PDE Secretary Rivera’s budget testimony, visit the Department of Education’s website at www.education.pa.gov or follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest

MEDIA CONTACT: Casey Smith - 717-783-9802

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