Doylestown, PA - As part of Governor Wolf’s commitment to expanding student opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and in computer science (CS), the Department of Education (PDE) today joined leaders from the Bucks County Intermediate Unit (IU) to announce $900,000 in PAsmart advancing grants has been awarded to two initiatives.
A $484,689 state grant will be used to fund the Computational Thinking in Action (CTiA) program, a statewide collaboration between the Bucks County IU, Luzerne IU 18, ARIN IU 28, Central IU 10 and the University of Pennsylvania. A second grant of $412,656 will be used to fund a Mobile Fab Lab to bring STEM and CS programming to 36 Bucks County schools.
“Governor Wolf knows that students must have access to STEM and computer science courses to develop the necessary skills to be successful in the 21st Century workforce,” said Judd Pittman, STEM advisor to Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera. “The PAsmart advancing grants fund the broad partnerships that will bring this programming to our students.”
As part of the CTiA program, the IU’s will work with area school districts to develop computer science courses for middle school and afterschool programs in robotics and CS. Also, lead teachers from each IU and district team will receive professional development and training through the University of Pennsylvania.
The Bucks County Mobile Fab Lab will provide STEM and CS programming to students who may not have access to those courses. Housed within a mobile cart and transported by van, the lab is a collection of equipment, including coding and robotics materials, 3D printers, and laser and vinyl cutters.
The lab will target students in grades 5-8, with the goal of increasing enrollment at Bucks County career and technical schools. It will have the capacity to visit up to 36 Bucks County schools for a one-week residency each school year. In addition, the lab will visit area homeless shelters on a regularly scheduled basis to provide opportunities to children and youth at those sites.
The grants are part of $9.6 million in PAsmart advancing grants announced February 11 by Governor Wolf to enhance science and technology education in schools statewide.
Governor Wolf launched PAsmart last year as a groundbreaking approach to prepare students and workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow through STEM and computer science education, apprenticeship and job training. Combined with $8.7 million in PAsmart targeted grants announced last month, the Wolf administration has awarded nearly $20 million this year to bolster STEM and computer science in schools and nearly $10 million to expand apprenticeships and job training.
The governor’s budget unveiled this month builds on the success of PAsmart to create opportunities for Pennsylvanians from birth to retirement. The governor’s Statewide Workforce, Education, and Accountability Program (SWEAP) expands access to early childhood education, increases investments in schools, and partners with the private sector to build on the PAsmart initiative.
The governor also created the Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center to expand the collaboration between government and the private sector to address the skills gap and worker shortages. The departments of Community and Economic Development, Labor and Industry, and State will work with external leaders from the Chamber of Business and Industry, AFL-CIO and Team Pennsylvania to build the strongest workforce in the nation.
Investing in schools and improving education for all students has been the hallmark of Governor Wolf’s vision for Schools That Teach. Under his leadership, Pennsylvania has increased access to high-quality education to ensure all students, regardless of zip code, are college and career ready.
Through the Schools That Teach Initiative, Wolf Administration officials from multiple agencies have visited dozens of schools across the state since 2015. View a Google map of all tour stops.
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