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First Lady Frances Wolf Hosts Girls and Women in STEM Roundtable Discussion at the Governor’s Residence

April 09, 2018

Harrisburg, PA – Today, First Lady Frances Wolf hosted a roundtable discussion with educators, government officials, community members, and business leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) focused on how to increase participation of girls and young women in STEM education. The discussion was held at the Governor’s Residence in Harrisburg and provided a platform for further conversation on how to promote the engagement and success of girls in computer science and STEM.

“Last year, twice as many boys took computer sciences courses than girls, yet over the next 10 years, 71 percent of new jobs will require computer science skills,” the First Lady said. “It is important that we bring those who are on the front lines of this work to the table to look at the barriers to girls and young women entering STEM education programs and careers, and what we can do to reverse this trend.”

Governor Wolf recently outlined his plans for PAsmart – a new workforce development initiative that helps connect Pennsylvanians with resources for working and training in Pennsylvania, including a proposed investment to increase STEM and computer science education at all levels.

Governor Wolf’s 2018-19 budget proposal will include $50 million for PAsmart:

  • $25 million increase in STEM and computer science education at all levels. Nearly 300,000 jobs in the commonwealth require skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Over the next decade, more than 70 percent of new jobs will require these skills.
  • $7 million increase in apprenticeships with a goal of doubling the number of registered apprentices by 2025. Since Governor Wolf established the commonwealth’s first Apprenticeship and Training Office in 2016, the number of registered apprentices has increased 14.5 percent, from 13,282 registered apprentices to 15,208.
  • $3 million increase for Industry Partnerships which bring together workers and multiple employers in the same industry in a public-private partnership to provide job training.
  • $10 million increase to develop Career and Technical Education and STEM career pathways to help students learn about career options and earn an associate degree at a lower cost and in less time.
  • $5 million increase to encourage employers to partner with colleges and universities to develop educational programs that prepare students for the jobs high demand jobs that local employers need.

As part of the first phase of the PASmart initiative, the Wolf administration launched a new website, pa.gov/smart, dedicated to help people get information about pursing an education and career in Pennsylvania at any stage of life.

Over the past three years under Governor Wolf’s administration, Pennsylvania has established a strong and innovative culture for STEM learning by strengthening STEM experiences for all students, supporting professional development for educators, and forming diverse partnerships across the commonwealth:

  • The Pennsylvania STEM Coalition is a statewide cross-sector network representing more than 150 stakeholders with a focus on equitable access to STEM Learning experiences for every learner, early childhood to postsecondary.
  • As part of the national Computer Science for All (CSforAll) initiative, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) convened a workgroup comprised of PreK-20 and business/industry stakeholders to review K-12 Computer Science Framework, Pennsylvania Computer Science and Information Technology Standards, CSTA Standards, and ITSE Standards and make recommendations to PDE for a state K-12 Computer Science Framework.
  • Pennsylvania is a nationally recognized leader in STEM education for its five regional STEM ecosystems and their collaborative efforts. STEM learning ecosystems encompass schools, businesses, community settings, including after-school and summer programs, science centers, libraries, museums, and other environments to constitute a rich array of learning opportunities.
  • Pennsylvania’s Intermediate Unities (IUs) participated in the Carnegie STEM Excellent Pathway, and worked with Code.org to provide professional development in in CS fundamentals to approximately 2,500 PreK-5 educators.
  • The Department is engaged in three multi-year partnerships focused on ensuring coherence across educational systems providing equitable access to STEM educational experiences for every learner in early childhood through postsecondary education, and building the capacity of educators to provide STEM experiences in formal and informal settings.
  • Beginning in the 2017-18 school year, high school students may apply up to one credit of CS or information technology coursework toward graduation.
  • Since 2014, more than 420 high school students have competed in the Governor’s STEM Competition, an annual scholarship competition that challenges teams of students to design a device or project capable of improving the lives of Pennsylvanians.
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