MIDLAND — As part of National Engineers Week, Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE: DOW) and Project Lead The Way anounced a $400,000 Dow gift to PLTW programs in 17 schools in Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan and Pennsylvanial.
These 17 schools enroll more than 14,000 students, and about half of these students are minority students.
Included are Bay City Central High School and Handy Middle School in Bay city, Freeland High School and Freeland Middle School in Freeland, and Bullock Creek High School and Bullock Creek Middle School in Midland.
PLTW offers hands-on, activity-based K-12 programs in which students become engaged in STEM fields while developing critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration skills – skills identified as crucial by today’s employers.
“STEM-based careers fuel innovation at Dow,” said Rob Vallentine, director of corporate citizenship at Dow. “The students of today represent the future of this country’s economic prosperity, and Dow is committed to supporting the STEM workforce of tomorrow in our communities.”
The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates 1.2 million unfilled STEM jobs by 2018 as a result of a lack of qualified, trained workers. Coincidentally, STEM jobs are expected to grow by 17 percent, nearly double the rate of jobs in other sectors. Expanding access to STEM education for underrepresented minority students is also of great interest, since only 10 percent of scientists and engineers in the United States come from underrepresented minority groups.
“The United States is facing a significant skills gap, and Dow is taking action to fill that gap. They are leading by example,” said PLTW President and CEO Dr. Vince Bertram. “Not only are they creating skilled jobs in our economy, but they are helping to develop the workforce to fill those jobs. We are grateful for Dow’s support of Project Lead The Way, which is giving students across the country access to high-quality educational opportunities.”
Through its STEMtheGAP initiatives, Dow’s STEM mission is to build the workforce of tomorrow by supporting teachers, motivating student achievement, developing careers, and collaborating with communities to transform STEM education into a driver for innovation, manufacturing, and economic prosperity. In support of this mission, the Dow partnership is supporting three elementary schools, six middle schools, and eight high schools to bring PLTW programs to their students.
In addition to funding PLTW programs, Dow employees will also engage with teachers and students in PLTW classrooms through the Company’s STEM Ambassadors program. These trained STEM Ambassadors aim to support teachers and inspire students by providing real life examples to make challenging concepts easier to understand, while incorporating a strong focus on sharing exciting opportunities available through pursuing STEM careers.
The 17 schools funded in the Dow initiative join more than 6,500 schools in the 50 states and the District of Columbia currently offering PLTW programs in engineering, biomedical science, and computer science. In addition to STEM curricula, PLTW also provides professional development to each teacher who instructs a PLTW course. Since 1997, PLTW has trained more than 19,000 teachers in its hands-on, project-based approach.
More at www.dow.com/company/citizenship/stem.htm. More about PLTW at www.pltw.org.