Pennsylvania's future depends on the development of a highly skilled workforce able to compete in the global economy.
Over the next decade, most good paying jobs in Pennsylvania will require some form of education or training after high school, especially in the fast-growing fields of STEM and computer science. However, we know a one-size-fits-all approach to education and training will not work for everyone.
To expand access to STEM and computer science teaching and learning, and to help ensure students across Pennsylvania have the skills and abilities to meet the economic needs of the 21st century, Governor Tom Wolf launched the PAsmart initiative.
Built upon recommendations of the governor's Middle-Class Task Force, PAsmart strategically invests resources in education and training opportunities to support Pennsylvania's economic growth now and in the future.
In 2019, Governor Tom Wolf secured $40 million to strategically invest in education and workforce development through PAsmart. The Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board provided recommendations and approved the framework for the funding priorities.
One component of this funding includes expanding grants to accelerate learning and professional development in the fast-growing fields of STEM and computer science. $20 million in grants will be awarded – via targeted and advancing grants – to bring high-quality STEM and computer science education to communities, with a focus on early learning centers, libraries, out-of-school time providers, career and technical centers, post-secondary institutions, elementary, middle, and high schools.
Up to $35,000 each, these grants are structured to meet the needs of LEAs and their schools that currently have limited to no CS/STEM offerings. There are two funding options:
- Option 1: LEAs may request funding to send teams of educators and administrators to PDE-designed professional development (see Appendix A), which is aligned to the CSTA standards and the K-12 Computer Science Framework.
- Option 2: LEAs may request funding to support alternative professional learning by an expert STEM/CS institution. The alternative professional learning must incorporate evidence-based approaches and be aligned to the CSTA standards and the K-12 Computer Science Framework.
Prerequisite: All PAsmart Targeted Grant recipients will be required to engage in a 1-day comprehensive planning workshop on SCRIPT, a comprehensive planning tool for computer science education.
Access information and
resources on PAsmart K-8 and 7-12 Targeted Grant Pathways delivered by PaTTAN.
Up to $500,000 each, these grants are designed to support broad, cross-sector partnerships that are using ecosystem or networked approaches to:
- expand access to CS/STEM education and promote inclusion (especially for historically underserved students and communities) through learning experiences such as integrative CS/STEM experiences, standalone CS/STEM courses, out-of-school learning, dual enrollment, industry credentials, work-based learning, internships, and apprenticeships;
- expand and diversify the number of CS/STEM educators at all education levels.
Advancing Grants will support partnerships that operate on a larger scale and provide quality CS/STEM experiences to learners of any age (early childhood, preK-12, postsecondary, and adult learners) as part of a high-level strategic approach to CS/STEM workforce readiness.
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