FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 29, 2010
CONTACT: Lisa Cohen, 310-395-2544, email@example.com
PROJECT LEAD THE WAY SCHOOLS HAVE STRONG SHOWING AT NATIONAL FIRST ROBOTICS COMPETITION
PLTW Students Were Part of the World Champion Team as Students from Three PLTW Pathway to Engineering Schools Work Together in Final Competition; 500 PLTW Schools Participated in the 2010 Competition, More Than Any Other STEM Program in the Country; PLTW CEO Calls for Increase in Support for In-School STEM Programs in America
Clifton Park, NY – Project Lead The Way, the nation’s leading provider of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in-school education programs, announced today that PLTW students from all over the country participated in this year’s 2010 FIRST Robotics Championship, including members of the World Champion team that won the national competition. Of the 1,800 teams participating in the 2010 First Robotics Competition, 500 were from schools that offer PLTW’s rigorous STEM education program. Two of three “World Champion” teams included students from three schools with Project Lead The Way (PLTW) programs, including Redondo Union (CA), Mira Costa (CA), and South Windsor (CT) High Schools.
“We are so proud of the innovative spirit PLTW students and teachers displayed at the FIRST Robotics Competition,” said John Lock, CEO of Project Lead The Way. “Every day, in PLTW classrooms around the country, students are developing the critical thinking and problem-solving skills they are going to need to be college- and career-ready when they graduate. After-school programs and competitions that allow students to pursue their passion for creativity and innovation are a great complement to the rigorous in-school STEM program that PLTW students experience every day in the classroom. We congratulate all of the PLTW schools on their successful performance in this competition, especially the Champions from Redondo Union, Mira Costa and South Windsor High Schools.”
Project Lead The Way’s hands-on, project based program engages the hearts and minds of thousands of middle school and high school students through STEM education by helping them connect what they are learning in the classroom to real-life problems. PLTW students use professional design software in the classroom that allows them to imagine, create and build things like robots and cars, applying what they learn in math and science to the world’s grand challenges. Studies have shown that PLTW students are more engaged in learning than their peers and more likely to attend college and major in STEM-related fields than non-PLTW students.
Lock added, “We are really encouraged by the level of innovation and creativity from all of the teams that participated in this competition and hope that the entire country is paying attention. An innovative, rigorous and project-based STEM curriculum during the school day is exactly the kind of learning experience we need to be providing students. It is no coincidence that PLTW students performed so well in the competition – they spend every school day developing these problem-solving skills. Every student in every school should have the opportunity to participate in classes that develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. After school competitions like the FIRST competition are wonderful, but many students don’t have access to or even time to pursue after school activities. As a nation, we must also commit increased resources to STEM based programs in school so that all students can develop these skills that are so critical to their ability to succeed in the 21st century.”
About Project Lead The Way
Project Lead The Way, Inc., is a national, non-profit organization that is the leading provider of rigorous and innovative STEM education curricular programs used in K-12 schools. The PLTW comprehensive curriculum, which is collaboratively developed by PLTW teachers, university educators, engineering and biomedical professionals, and school administrators, emphasizes critical thinking, creativity, innovation and real-world problem solving. The hands-on, project-based program engages students on multiple levels, exposes them to areas of study that they typically do not pursue, and provides them with a foundation and proven path to college and career success. PLTW began in 1998 in 12 high schools in upstate New York as a program designed to address the shortage of engineering students at the college level and has grown to a network of almost 3,400 middle and high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Nearly 350,000 students are enrolled in PLTW courses. For more information, visit www.pltw.org.
The Engineering programs at Minnesota State University, Mankato offer a Master of Science in Engineering degree program. In consultation with their committee, students design their own program of study by choosing courses from Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science. The program is designed to serve engineers in business and industry who want to continue their formal engineering education at the postgraduate level; new engineering graduates who want to increase their depth of knowledge and develop an area of specialization; and those graduates from other related science disciplines who want to broaden their backgrounds by pursuing engineering studies at the graduate level. Read more.
Minnesota Future Work Scan
Minnesota Future Work is an environmental scanning program designed to identify new and emerging occupations, the skills required for such occupations, and the education and training needed to develop such skills. For an archive of additional scans, please visit the Future Work page on ISEEK. http://www.iseek.org/news/trends.html
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Preparing the Workers of Today for the Jobs of Tomorrow
In this report, the President’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) presents a projection of potential developments in the U.S. labor market over the next five to ten years and discusses the preparations necessary to develop the 21st century workforce. The report discusses the skills that will likely be most relevant in growing occupations, the value and limitations of our current post-high school education and training systems, and the characteristics of a more effective education and training structure.
At an aggregate level, the data indicate that the economy of 2016 will resemble the economy of 2008, with several important shifts that have implications for employment.
* Health care is forecasted to remain a large source of job growth in the labor market. The long-term trend toward more employment in health care is expected to continue, with many health care occupations, including medical records and health information technicians, registered nurses, clinical laboratory technicians, and physical therapists, expected to grow.
* Retail trade is projected to contract somewhat in terms of employment share, partly because the growth in consumer spending is expected to slow somewhat going forward.
* The decades-long decline in the share of workers that are employed in manufacturing is expected to moderate. Some industries within manufacturing – such as aerospace and pharmaceuticals – are projected to create many jobs.
* The construction industry is projected to eventually recover and add jobs in the coming decade. This rebuilding would generate a demand for skilled workers such as electricians and plumbers.
Well-trained and highly-skilled workers will be best positioned to secure high-wage jobs, thereby fueling American prosperity. Occupations requiring higher educational attainment are projected to grow much faster than those with lower education requirements. Growth among occupations that require an associate’s degree or a post-secondary vocational award is projected to be slightly faster than occupations requiring a bachelor’s degree or more.
[FutureWork Note: In addition to the growth rate, it is also important to consider the projected number of job openings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2006 and 2016 there will be about 11 million total job openings in the U.S. for occupations that require a bachelor's degree or more compared to about 8 million total job openings for occupations requiring an associate’s degree, post-secondary vocational award or long-term on-the-job training which often involves technical training.]
Key attributes of a well-trained workforce as well as elements of an effective education and training system are detailed below.
* Employers value workers who can think critically and solve problems. Many highly-paid occupations require workers with good analytic and interactive skills.
* Occupations that employ large shares of workers with post-secondary education and training are growing faster than others. While expected growth in construction and some manufacturing industries would create job opportunities at all skill levels, workers will be better positioned for good jobs if they acquire additional training and education. Occupations that have grown recently require more formal post-secondary schooling than occupations that have declined.
* The U.S. post-high school education and training system provides valuable skills to those who complete programs in high-growth fields. However, it could be more effective at encouraging completion and responding to the needs of the labor market.
* Elements of a more effective system include: a solid early childhood, elementary, and secondary system that ensures students have strong basic skills; institutions and programs that have goals that are aligned and curricula that are cumulative; close collaboration between training providers and employers to ensure that curricula are aligned with workforce needs; flexible scheduling, appropriate curricula, and financial aid designed to meet the needs of students; incentives for institutions and programs to continually improve and innovate; and accountability for results.
Importantly, post-secondary education and training can provide the cognitive and interactive skills required for good, high-paid, jobs. Analysis of data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) indicates that occupations with a high intensity of analytic and interactive skills tend to have large shares of workers with post-secondary education. Moreover, occupations with a high concentration of college-educated workers have been growing much faster than others.
This analysis is consistent with another set of results from the employer survey conducted by The Conference Board. Respondents noted that graduates from two- and four-year college programs were on average better prepared to meet the challenges of the labor market than high school graduates. Specifically, those with only a high school degree were reported to be deficient in professionalism/work ethic and critical thinking/problem solving.
The Conference Board also found that their survey respondents believed most recent high school graduates lacked the basic skills of reading, writing, and math that were deemed necessary by employers. Among these basic skills, employers deemed this group to be most deficient in writing. Employers judged nearly three-quarters of high school graduates as unable to write at a basic level, for which competency includes knowledge of both spelling and grammar. These rudimentary skills, combined with the applied skills of problem solving and interacting with others, are critical for workers in the current labor market according to Donna Klein, President and CEO of Corporate Voices for Working Families (a sponsor of The Conference Board Report). One member of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB) echoes this view in reporting that one-half of the job applicants to his large company cannot do basic 8th grade math. Other members of the PERAB report that many workers do not possess the basic reading and math skills necessary for even entry-level work.
Worker flexibility is key given the dynamic nature of the U.S. labor market and ongoing technological change. In 2003, for example, a quarter of American workers were in jobs that were not even listed among the Census Bureau’s Occupation codes in 1967, and technological change has only accelerated since then. Environmental-related occupations – which are expected to experience tremendous growth over the next decade – did not exist in comparable data prior to 2000. As we build a new foundation for economic growth in the 21st century, the nation’s workers will be better prepared for ever-changing opportunities if they have strong analytical and interpersonal skills. High-quality education and training is the best way to prepare the workers of today for the jobs of tomorrow.
Executive Office of the President Council of Economic Advisors July 2009 http://www.whitehouse.gov/assets/documents/Jobs_of_the_Future.pdf
The Minnesota Future Work program is operated by Daniel Wagner Wagne054@tc.umn.edu and Victor Ward firstname.lastname@example.org . To add names of people to receive Future Work Scans or to notify us of a change in your e-mail address, please send an e-mail to Bruce.Steuernagel@so.mnscu.edu who manages the program.
Minnesota Future Work is funded by the Carl D. Perkins Act, Office of the Chancellor, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.
Organization Works to Strengthen Math and Science Education
DENVER, June 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire
The Education Commission of the States (ECS) is pleased to award Project Lead The Way(R) (PLTW) the 2009 ECS Corporate Award. The tribute honors for-profit corporations or non-profit organizations with sustained commitment to and investment in improving public education. The award will be presented by Minnesota Governor and ECS Chair Tim Pawlenty as part of the 2009 National Forum on Education Policy, July 8-10 in Nashville, Tenn.
Collaborating with schools, industry, state government and universities, PLTW works to build future generations of successful engineers and technology savvy graduates. PTLW supports a series of middle and high school courses that are project-centered, problem-based and technology-integrated, preparing students to excel in high-tech fields. With rigorous and relevant context tied to national standards, the program responds to a common student question: “Why do I have to learn this?”
“This is a perfect example of a public/private partnership engaging and challenging students to apply their skills and knowledge to real life situations,” notes ECS President Roger Sampson.
Project Lead The Way leadership believe that when schools apply activities and problem-based learning, they generate an “increase in student motivation, an increase in cooperative learning skills, higher-order thinking and an improvement in student achievement.” Research has shown this to be true. According to an evaluation by High Schools That Work, PLTW students scored significantly higher in both mathematics and science high school assessments. The National Center for Education Statistics 2006-07 True Outcomes report explains that students who participate in PLTW are five times more likely to graduate college as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors than those who do not.
The organization was started in the 1980s in upstate New York by Richard Blais and Richard Liebich, becoming an independent not-for-profit organization in 1997. Today, the program is expanding across the country with an eye to new and engaging curriculum.
“We are extremely honored to receive this award, particularly at a time when our country needs a new generation of innovators to remain economically competitive in the 21st century global economy,” said John Lock, CEO of Project Lead The Way. “We remain committed to attracting more students to science, math, engineering and tech fields in the coming years by expanding the reach of PLTW’s critical-thinking and project-based curriculum to more schools around the country. By helping students apply what they learn in math and science to innovation and real life problem-solving, we can create America’s next “Innovation Generation’ and regain our economic competitive advantage.”
The Education Commission of the States (ECS) is the only nationwide, nonpartisan interstate compact devoted to education. ECS helps governors, legislators, state education officials and others identify, develop and implement public policies to improve student learning at all levels. A nonprofit organization, ECS (www.ecs.org) was formed in 1965 and is located in Denver, Colorado.
Project Lead The Way(R) is a national 501c3, not-for-profit educational program that helps give middle and high school students the rigorous ground-level education they need to develop strong backgrounds in science and engineering. For more information, please visit: http://www.pltw.org.
SOURCE Education Commission of the States Mary Ann Strombitski, +1-303-299 3609, email@example.com, or Ashley Zaleski +1-303-299-3698, firstname.lastname@example.org, both of the Education Commission of the States