Over the next decade, seven in 10 new jobs in Pennsylvania will require workers to use a computer and an estimated 300,000 STEM jobs will be available in the commonwealth by 2026. To meet this projected demand, Governor Tom Wolf launched PAsmart, a new initiative to invest in the commonwealth's existing and future workforce.
PAsmart is built on recommendations of Governor Wolf's Middle Class Task Force, comprised of business, labor, education, and workforce development leaders. The task force concluded there are jobs without trained people to fill them and some workers need new skills, but a four-year degree is not for everyone and a one-size fits-all approach will not work.
In response to the task force's findings, the governor secured $30 million to strategically invest in education and workforce development with competitive grants to enhance the skills of Pennsylvania workers. The Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board, the governor's private sector policy advisor, provided recommendations and approved the framework for the funding priorities.
These competitive grants will expand classroom instruction and professional development in the fast-growing fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and computer science (CS), as well as training for in-demand careers, emerging industries, and underserved populations.
$20 million in grants will be awarded to bring high-quality CS and STEM education to classrooms in elementary, middle, and high schools, along with professional development for teachers. With this commitment, Pennsylvania now ranks second in the country for investments in K-12 STEM and computer science.
Two funding tiers were made available to local education agencies (LEAs), each having its own purpose and audience:
- Targeted Grants, of up to $35,000 each, are structured to meet the needs of LEAs and their schools that currently have limited to no CS offerings. These grants are meant to fund teams of educators (4 or more) who would like to be trained on ways to implement CS in their classrooms. No prior CS experience is required, and applications are meant to take less than 30 minutes to complete. There will be follow-up funding to purchase products and equipment after the training. View the recipients of the PAsmart Targeted Grants (announced January 17, 2019).
- Advancing Grants, of up to $500,000 each, are high-level comprehensive grants meant to support entities that have 50 or more students participating in CS/STEM experiences. These grants give regions a chance to leverage or expand CS/STEM ecosystems, grow partnerships between LEAs, higher education institutions, businesses, and other CS/STEM-focused organizations, to expand CS/STEM experiences to historically underserved populations, and to expand the pool of CS/STEM educators.
View answers to frequently asked questions about the PAsmart grants.
Learn more about PAsmart and view additional resources.
Have additional questions or comments? Please send an email to PAsmart@pa.gov.