Governor Wolf Helps Launch New STEM Teacher Training Fellowship

September 07, 2018

Harrisburg, PA – Demonstrating a commitment to STEM education to strengthen the economy, Governor Tom Wolf joined Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and other education and non-profit leaders today to announce the new Woodrow Wilson Pennsylvania Teaching Fellows program. The fellowship will provide a pipeline of excellent STEM teachers for Pennsylvania’s schools.

“Expanding businesses need people with STEM skills and that starts with great teachers,” said Governor Wolf. “I commend the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation for making Pennsylvania the sixth state with this fellowship and for its dedication to delivering a quality STEM education to our students.

“This fellowship is the perfect match with my PAsmart initiative that has made Pennsylvania a national leader in STEM and computer science education. Through the fellowship, STEM teachers will improve as educators and with PAsmart, the state is investing in the future of our students, so they have the STEM skills for good jobs in high-growth fields that Pennsylvania needs.”

The foundation selected state-owned West Chester University as well as the University of Pennsylvania and Duquesne University to create a specially designed, cutting-edge master’s degree program. Each institution can enroll 12 Fellows a year for a total of 108 Fellows over a three-year period. The Fellows each receive $32,000 with one year of classroom instruction and a three-year commitment to teach in a rural or urban Pennsylvania school.

“All Pennsylvania students both need and deserve strong STEM teachers,” said Levine. “Through the Pennsylvania Teaching Fellowship Program, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation will now help the state construct new pipelines of aspiring educators with strong backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, and math, all committed to teaching in Pennsylvania’s high-need communities. Through this effort, Pennsylvania will continue to strengthen its schools, its communities, and its future.”

The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship has a network of 28 other colleges and universities nationwide. Each participating university receives a $400,000 matching grant from the foundation for program development. The STEM teacher training West Chester University develops will be a model for other PASSHE institutions

“We are honored to be selected, along with the University of Pennsylvania and Duquesne University, to offer the prestigious Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship,” said Cynthia D. Shapira, chair of the Board of Governors of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. “The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania becomes the sixth state to launch this innovative teacher education program, which seeks to transform STEM teaching while preparing future leaders in the profession to help students in secondary schools with highest need to achieve success. It is most fitting that our universities, which historically have been at the forefront of teacher preparation in the commonwealth, have a key role in bringing the Fellowship to the citizens of Pennsylvania.”

The Woodrow Wilson Foundation will administer the program, which is funded by donations. Teachers are expected to begin the fellowship next summer.

Governor Wolf introduced his PAsmart workforce development initiative earlier this year. According to Education Commission of the States, Pennsylvania now ranks second in the country for investments in K-12 STEM and computer science initiatives. The governor secured $20 million in the state budget to prepare students to use computers and new technologies in the constantly changing economy, regardless of age, gender and zip code. The governor is investing an additional $10 million in job training and apprenticeships through PAsmart.

Over the next decade, seven in 10 new jobs in Pennsylvania will require computer science skills and an estimated 300,000 jobs in science, technology, engineering and math will be available in Pennsylvania this year.

In July, the governor signed an executive order to cut red tape and improve coordination between several state agencies to more effectively deliver workforce development services to Pennsylvanians. Under the executive order, the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board, the governor’s private sector policy advisor, will provide recommendations on the distribution of PAsmart funding, which will be driven out through competitive grants. This collaboration will help to ensure the investments meet employers’ need for skilled workers and that students and workers are gaining the skills for good, middle-class jobs that will grow Pennsylvania’s economy.

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