updated: 3/3/2014 7:28:21 AM

Region Launches Unique STEM Initiative

Andy Ober, InsideINdianaBusiness.com

An Indianapolis-based science, technology, engineering and mathematics education organization is expanding its footprint in the state. Project Lead The Way Inc. is working with the Corporate Partnership for Economic Growth on a first-of-its-kind, $4.4 million pilot program. The partnership will provide every school in a five-county northern Indiana region access to the education group's STEM curriculum. On this weekend's edition of Inside INdiana Business Television, Project Lead The Way Senior Vice President Rex Bolinger and CPEG Acting President Shawn Peterson discussed how the effort can create a pipeline of workers for 21st century jobs.

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March 3, 2014

News Release

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (March 1, 2014) – The Corporate Partnership for Economic Growth (CPEG) and Project Lead The Way (PLTW), the nation’s leading provider of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs, announced a multi-million dollar regional partnership this morning at a STEM teacher training program being held at the University of Notre Dame.

The partnership creates a model region for PLTW, providing all K-12 schools, both public and private, in a five-county area with the opportunity to implement PLTW’s rigorous, world-class STEM programs in engineering and biomedical science. The partnership creates a $4.4 million matching grant pilot program to offset startup costs associated with teacher training, participation fees, and required equipment and will be available to schools for the 2014-15 school year through 2016. Over 275 schools in the five-county area of Elkhart, Fulton, Kosciusko, Marshall, and St. Joseph may begin applying for grant funds immediately. Applications are due March 31, and schools will be accepted and notified in April.

In addition to providing every student in the five-county region with access to PLTW, the partnership between CPEG and PLTW engages the local community, business and industry, and will help develop a robust talent pipeline for those businesses and industries.

“Project Lead The Way is excited and proud to partner with the CPEG region to help build the STEM pipeline,” said PLTW president and CEO, Vince Bertram. “This type of collaboration is unprecedented, but essential, for economic growth and workforce development. We are confident that this will not only be a model for Indiana, but for the nation.”

Of the $4.4 million in commitments, PLTW is contributing $2.2 million, and a combination of business and industry, economic development organizations, community foundations, colleges and universities, local nonprofits, and individual philanthropists from the five-county region contributed the $2.2 million in matching funds. A coalition of organizations in the five-county region secured the matching funds, including the Horizon Education Alliance (Elkhart County), the Fulton County Economic Development Corporation, OrthoWorx and Orthopedic Capital Foundation (Kosciusko County), the United Way of Marshall County, the Marshall County Economic Development Corporation, the United Way of St. Joseph County, and the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce.

“Project Lead The Way is all about providing opportunities - opportunities for teachers to connect with students and for students to be prepared for tomorrow’s high-paying jobs,” stated Shawn E. Peterson, Acting President and CEO of CPEG. “Being selected as a model region further provides our community an opportunity to build a robust talent pipeline to fuel existing job growth and attract new jobs. This effort is truly an honor for Northern Indiana and a testament to our innovative and collaborative education and economic development partners that helped pull this together.”

PLTW is a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Indianapolis, providing STEM programs and high-quality teacher professional development to more than 5,000 schools across the United States, including 345 schools in Indiana. PLTW’s five programs include PLTW LaunchTM for grades K-5, PLTW GatewayTM for students in grades 6-8, and PLTW EngineeringTM, PLTW Biomedical ScienceTM, and PLTW Computer ScienceTM for high school students. By aligning with PLTW, CPEG and its member organizations are able to offer more students access to the rigorous STEM programs that will prepare Northern Indiana students for the global economy.

STEM jobs are growing at a rate of 18 percent, nearly twice the rate of other fields. By 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce estimates 1.2 million unfilled jobs in STEM fields due to a widening skills gap. In Indiana, 123,000 new STEM jobs will exist by 2018, the majority of which will be computer and mathematical scientists, engineers, and engineering technicians. STEM jobs are among the country’s highest paying jobs.


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About PLTW
Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the nation’s leading provider of STEM programs. PLTW’s world-class, activity-, project-, and problem-based curriculum and high-quality teacher professional development model, combined with an engaged network of educators and corporate partners, help students develop the skills needed to succeed in our global economy. More than 5,000 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are currently offering PLTW courses to their students. For more information, visit www.pltw.org.

About CPEG
Corporate Partnership for Economic Growth (CPEG) is a coalition of regional business leaders who seek to develop and leverage regional assets that spur long-term economic growth and prosperity of Northern Indiana. CPEG partners with industry, government and philanthropic organizations to identify and efficiently implement regional and supra-regional strategies that enable our region to effectively compete in a global economy. For more information, visit www.cpeg.org.

Source: Project Lead The Way, Corporate Partnership for Economic Growth

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