Longietti: $327,000 grant to advance STEM and computer science learning, expand access to career development programs

HARRISBURG, Feb. 11 – A $327,000 state grant will promote computer science and STEM learning in Mercer County schools while expanding hands-on career development opportunities for students, state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, announced today.

“Today’s high-paying, family sustaining jobs demand a strong grasp of STEM and computer science skills,” Longietti said. “The funding announced today will help Mercer County schools tailor these classes to the specific demands of the 21st century job market. The grant also will help connect students with educational and career development programs that offer stimulating, hands-on learning and real-world work experience.”

The grant recipient – United Way of Mercer County – will use the funding to administer the 4C Catalyst program, a cross-sector partnership of area schools, businesses, workforce partners and community organizations that aims to engage 1,500 students in grades five through nine annually in computer science and STEM education.

“We’re extremely excited about this opportunity,” said Jim Micsky, executive director of United Way of Mercer County. “We have been working hard to increase student learning and heighten awareness about STEM. A grant like this provides an opportunity to rally the community behind the importance of STEM training and education, and it will make our community a better place to live and work."

The grant, administered by the state Department of Education, is part of a statewide package of PAsmart advancing grants designed to support entities that have 50 or more students participating in CS/STEM experiences.