STEM, computer science enhancement in Pa. schools gets nearly $10M in grants


Continuing the rollout of his groundbreaking PAsmart initiative, Gov. Tom Wolf announced $9.6 million in PAsmart advancing grants to enhance science and technology education in schools statewide. Combined with PAsmart targeted grants announced last month, the Wolf administration has awarded nearly $20 million this year to bolster STEM and computer science (CS) in schools, according to a news release sent out Monday.

“Workers in all types of jobs increasingly need to use computers and technology,” Wolf said. “In order to meet that demand, I launched PAsmart last year to expand science and technology education.

“These grants will help our schools and communities to expand STEM and computer science education. That will strengthen our workforce, so businesses can grow, and workers have good jobs that can support a family.”

Over the next decade, seven in 10 new jobs in Pennsylvania will require workers to use computers and new technologies.

Projects funded by the PAsmart advancing grants include CS/STEM camps and after-school programs; support for diversity and inclusion on esports teams in high-need areas; STEM programming for pre K-2 students and classrooms; and a mobile fabrication lab where students gain hands-on experience in coding and robotics.

Other projects will develop CS/STEM internships, teacher training programs to increase the number of instructors in CS/STEM, and a Pathways to College program for high school students in the state’s rural northern tier region, the release said.

Wolf previously announced a $442,000 grant to the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation to expand its computer science/STEM lending libraries in western Pennsylvania,

“Over the past three years, Pennsylvania has established a strong and innovative culture for computer science and STEM learning across the commonwealth,” Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera said. “The advancing grants build on the commitment of the Wolf administration to ensuring that students are college, career, and community ready with they graduate.”

PAsmart advancing grant recipients include:

  • Allegheny Intermediate Unit 3 – $478,420           
  • Allegheny Intermediate Unit Math & Science Collaborative – $399,379 
  • Berks County Intermediate Unit – $494,368        
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania – $237,654       
  • Bucks County Intermediate Unit #22 – $412,656            
  • Bucks County Intermediate Unit #22 (with partner IUs) – $484,689       
  • California University of Pennsylvania – $172,115           
  • Central Susquehanna IU – $500,000       
  • Cranberry Area School District – $361,600         
  • East Allegheny School District – $286,929          
  • Emerald Foundation/Lancaster-Lebanon IU – $499,877 
  • Hopewell Area School District – $500,000           
  • Mansfield University of PA – $277,307    
  • Mercyhurst University – $500,000           
  • Northeastern Educational IU 19 – $500,000        
  • PA SEED Ecosystem – $390,675
  • Penn State New Kensington/ABC CREATE – $328,944 
  • Pennsylvania Highlands Community College – $498,495           
  • Pittsburgh Penguins Foundations – $442,323     
  • Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc. – $443,078      
  • School District of Philadelphia – $500,000          
  • South Fayette Township School District – $499,613       
  • Spring Cove School District – $500,000  
  • United Way of Mercer County – $327,000

Last month, the Wolf Administration awarded $8.7 million in PAsmart grants to expand computer science classes and teacher training at 765 schools across the commonwealth.

Separate PAsmart grants to increase apprenticeships and job training so students and workers have been announced in northwest, southwest and north central regions of the commonwealth. Additional job training grants will be announced this week.