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Governor: PAsmart makes Pennsylvania a leader in STEM education

Harrisburg, PA – After securing the vast majority of his bold budget plan to strengthen Pennsylvania’s workforce, Governor Tom Wolf today highlighted how his PAsmart initiative is preparing students and workers for good careers in emerging industries.

“Last year, I launched PAsmart as a new way to invest in education and job training so workers can get the skills to compete for the jobs of today and the future,” said Governor Wolf. “By expanding PAsmart this year, we’re signaling to businesses that Pennsylvania is ready with the workers they need.”

Guided by the recommendations of businesses and workers, PAsmart makes strategic investments to help close the skills gap and train more people for jobs that employers need. This year, the governor secured a $10 million increase to $40 million for PAsmart.

“With PAsmart, Pennsylvania will have the most prepared and talented workforce in the country, which will help businesses succeed, grow the middle class, and strengthen the economy for everyone,” said Governor Wolf. “We are partnering with private industry and schools to strategically invest in science and technology education, expand apprenticeships, and increase on-the-job training for good careers.”

In the inaugural year, the Wolf administration awarded nearly $10 million in PAsmart grants, of up to $35,000 each, to 765 schools to expand computer science classes and teacher training, and nearly $10 million in advancing grants, up to $500,000 each, to 24 schools and community partnerships. The remaining $10 million supported apprenticeships and job training.

The projects included CS/STEM camps and after-school programs; STEM programming for preK-2 students and classrooms; a mobile fabrication lab where students gain hands-on experience in coding and robotics; the expansion of a western Pennsylvania STEM lending library to serve hundreds of school districts, and support for diversity and inclusion on esports teams in high-need areas.

With PAsmart, Pennsylvania is a national leader in STEM and computer science education and accomplishments under Governor Wolf include:

Ranking second in the nation for investments in computer science education; 
• Advancing Pennsylvania to third in the nation in the number of nationally-recognized STEM ecosystems and made the commonwealth the fifth largest producer of STEM graduates
• Establishing standards for computer science education in all Pennsylvania schools; 
• Joining the Governors’ Partnership for K-12 Computer Science, a bipartisan initiative organized by Code.org, to advance policy, funding, and professional learning for computer science education.

To celebrate STEM learning, the governor visited with students at a summer STEM camp at Harrisburg University of Science & Technology. The students are learning to use drones to benefit agriculture, including to create highly accurate aerial photos and maps using Global Positioning Systems and Geospatial Information Systems technologies.

Media contact: JJ Abbott, 717.783.1116

PA Workforce Development Association