"With PAsmart, we are partnering with educators and the private sector to strategically invest in science and technology education, so students are prepared for the high-growth jobs of today and the future," said Governor Wolf. "Elementary school students will experience tremendous technological advances in their lifetime and PAsmart will help them learn and gain knowledge to thrive."
The governor secured $70 million for PAsmart over two years, including $40 million for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and computer science education and $30 million for job training.
During the tour, the governor visited students using equipment from the Bucks County IU's new Mobile Fab Lab. Funded by a $412,656 PAsmart grant, the lab travels to Bucks County schools to teach students about using coding and robotics materials, 3D printers, laser and vinyl cutters, and more. The lab will focus on fifth through eighth grade students with the goal of increasing enrollment at Bucks County career and technical schools.
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"We are very honored to be a recipient of multiple PAsmart grants and the partnerships they allow us to build, including the opportunity to develop this Mobile Fab Lab," said Dr. Mark Hoffman, executive director, Bucks County IU. "By being able to bring STEAM education directly to our districts, schools, and students, we are providing innovative teaching and learning that prepares our young people today for the jobs of tomorrow."
"As a targeted PAsmart Grant recipient, we are very excited to welcome the Bucks IU Mobile Fab Lab," said Dr. Melanie Gehrens, superintendent, Bristol Township School District. "This exciting new program directly aligns with our district goals to continue to expand and grow STEAM education opportunities for our students."
As announced earlier this year, a PAsmart grant of $390,675 was awarded to the PA SEED Ecosystem, of which the Bucks IU is a founding member, to create a program for students in grades 7th through 12th in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties to expand computer science and STEM learning in their communities. Another PAsmart grant of $500,000 to 10 intermediate units, including the Bucks County IU, is providing coding equipment for students in 154 school districts through the PA STEM Lending Library Coalition.
PAsmart has made Pennsylvania a national leader in STEM and computer science education and accomplishments under Governor Wolf include:
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• 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 making 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.
Last month, the State Board of Education directed the Department of Education to begin the process of updating Pennsylvania's science standards.
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