PITTSBURGH, June 13, 2018 – ASSET STEM Education™ (ASSET), a national provider of hands-on STEM learning materials and professional development, recently announced it will host the second year of its innovative Project-based Learning through Teacher Externships program. Funding for this program has been provided by a grant from PPG Foundation.
The program aims to address the current shortage of students pursuing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) majors and careers despite the industry’s growing demand for highly skilled workers. A recent report from Randstad North America states that in 2016, there were 3 million more STEM jobs than there were workers to fill them.
Through hands-on training and mentorships with STEM-industry professionals, ASSET’s program helps classroom educators understand the knowledge and skills required for a 21st century career in STEM. Participating educators will attend no-cost Professional Development focused on implementing the instructional practice Project-based Learning in the classroom before completing an externship at a STEM-related business.
“We are excited to move forward for a second year with this program, through the generous support of the PPG Foundation,” said Dr. Cynthia Pulkowski, Executive Director at ASSET. “We know that today’s careers require creativity, critical thinking and collaboration; yet many teachers still utilize traditional learning models that don’t align with these skills. With this program, we hope to empower teachers to apply Project-based Learning and help to prepare and inspire students to pursue a career in STEM.”
Project-based Learning is an instructional best practice designed to help students build collaborative problem solving skills by focusing on real-world issues that appeal to them. Studies show that PBL can be more effective than traditional instruction and can result in improved learning and increased student engagement. Through the 2017 pilot, ASSET found that integrating PBL with teacher externships gives educators a context for bringing real-world problem solving into the classroom, which helps them understand and implement Project-based Learning.
“We may not know what specific jobs we are preparing our 21st-century learners for,” said former participant Stacie Perez, a teacher at Liberty Local Schools in Youngstown, Ohio who was paired with chemists at PPG. “But we are certain that we can teach them the skills that will enable them to be competitive in future job markets.”
ASSET is seeking STEM professionals in Southwestern Pennsylvania to participate in the program and serve as a mentor to local teachers and administrators. These individuals will participate in a one-hour onboarding phone call prior to hosting an educator at their workplace, as well as optional check-ins with the teacher and students.
STEM Professionals who are interested in serving as mentors can sign up here or contact:
Gina DeAngelo (GDeAngelo@assetinc.org or 412-481-7320 x205)
Teachers who wish to participate can sign up here or contact:
Dianne Hanrahan (DHanrahan@assetinc.org or 412-481-7320 x265)
Learn more about the program at http://assetinc.org/PBL
About ASSET STEM Education
Founded in 1994 by the Bayer Corporation and a coalition of community partners, ASSET STEM Education provides more than 200 different professional development courses to more than 2,500 educators annually. ASSET also equips classrooms and educational programs with hands-on, minds-on STEM materials. Each year, these activities impact more than 150,000 school-aged youth. ASSET’s holistic approach to STEM education fosters youth interest, engagement and achievement in other subjects. For more information, visit www.assetinc.org.