Hawaii schools receive funding for new STEM education programs

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Twelve Hawaii schools will be able to expand science, math, engineering and technology education for their students as the first recipients in a multi-year, $2.2 million grant program to increase students’ readiness for college and careers.

Gov. David Ige announced the initiative back in January in partnership with Project Lead The Way (PLTW) and USA Funds as part of an effort to build the state’s innovation economy and workforce.

The funding enables each school to implement PLTW high school programs in PLTW’s computer science, engineering and biomedical science pathways. Grant funds cover expenses such as program fees, teacher training at the University of Hawaii – West Oahu, and classroom equipment and supplies.

USA Funds is providing the $2.2 million grant to support the program.

The 12 schools selected to begin PLTW’s programs are:

  • Aiea High School, Oahu
  • Honokaa High School, Hawaii
  • Island Pacific Academy, Oahu
  • James Campbell High School, Oahu
  • Kalaheo High School, Oahu
  • Kalani High School, Oahu
  • Kapolei High School, Oahu
  • Keaau High School, Hawaii
  • Lanai High and Elementary School, Lanai
  • Maui Preparatory Academy, Maui
  • Mililani High School, Oahu
  • Nanakuli High and Intermediate, Oahu

By 2017, Hawaii is projected to need 16,000 more workers with STEM skills each year, but the state currently ranks 47th in the number of STEM-related degrees awarded per 100,000 residents.

“Students on Oahu face the same job market and economy as the rest of the country, and having a deeper set of STEM skills will give them an advantage both in college acceptance and in job readiness,” said Tom Falenofoa, technology coordinator at Mililani High School. “Hawaii is currently trying to attract high tech industries, and having a strong community of people with those skill sets will help to encourage that.”

PLTW will open a second round of grant requests from Hawaii schools this fall.

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