PEF Awarded More Than $250K for STEM Education and Careers

By Allison Kelsey Posted: April 13, 2021

PEF is delighted to announce that, in partnership with Chester County Intermediate Unit, JEVS Human Services, Johnson Controls, and Temple University, it has been awarded a $264,352 PAsmart Advancing Grant to support PEF’s existing “Explore STEM Philly” program and to develop an “Explore STEM Chester County” program. This cross-sector partnership of regional STEM and workforce development entities will provide access to STEM education and career awareness opportunities for historically under-served/under-represented students in Philadelphia and Chester counties.

The STEM career exposure project will train STEM career professionals to present to local classrooms in under-resourced schools. The goal is to introduce students and teachers to a variety of STEM careers and equip teachers with the resources to extend student learning. It’s anticipated that the project also will help reinforce communication between educators and those working in STEM fields to ensure that each understands the others’ investment in STEM workforce development.

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 and STEM after-school programs in robotics and artificial intelligence; the establishment of innovative STEM partnerships between school districts and higher education partners to provide college credits and industry credentials in STEM and Computer Science; support for diversity and inclusion on esports teams in high-need areas; establishing innovation hubs through collaborations with community colleges, city parks, and libraries to help underserved learners build STEM and computer science skills; establishing mentorships to expose underrepresented learners to STEM careers; and opportunities for rural, urban, and suburban students to gain hands-on experience in coding and robotics.

More information about PAsmart and this round of grantees is available in the state’s press release. Visit PEF’s suite of STEM programs.