Lt. Governor and Acting Secretary of Education Kick Off Governor’s Jobs1st STEM Competition: Building a Stronger Pennsylvania; Open to Students in Grades 9-12

Lancaster – Lt. Governor Jim Cawley and Acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq today visited Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster to kick off the statewide Governor’s Jobs1st STEM Competition: Building a Stronger Pennsylvania.

The competition is open to public, nonpublic and private school students in grades 9-12 to showcase their skills and expertise in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“STEM and related careers are important to the long-term stability of Pennsylvania’s economy, and this competition will introduce students to the diverse employment opportunities that exist in their communities,” Lt. Gov. Cawley said.  “Students participating in the competition will gain an understanding of the concepts and skills needed for these high value occupations.”

Teams of five students will be selected from each interested school and will explore STEM opportunities available in their local communities.  Students will select a real-world problem, conduct research, and design, build and present a prototype device that is capable of making the quality of life better for the citizens of Pennsylvania.

“This is an excellent opportunity for Pennsylvania students to demonstrate their problem solving skills and academic abilities in the sciences to help improve the lives of Pennsylvanians,” Dumaresq said.  “I am confident that Pennsylvania’s students will make this a quality competition and that we are going to see great ideas and concepts on display.”

The first phase of the competition will take place in February 2015 during 27 regional competitions to be hosted by the state’s intermediate units.  Student teams that win the regional competition will advance to the statewide competition, which will be held on May 29, 2015, at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster.

To ensure that all students are able to participate, each student team will be provided with a $500 stipend to cover project costs at the regional level, and each team that advances to the state competition will be provided with an additional $750 stipend.

For the statewide competition, the top three teams will be awarded with scholarships for postsecondary education.  For first place, each student team member will receive $2,000; for second place, each student will receive $1,000; and for third place, each student will receive $500.

In addition, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) will provide an additional scholarship to those winning students who choose to attend one of the 14 PASSHE universities.  First place winners will receive an additional $1,000 and second and third place winners will receive an additional $500.

“STEM programs are among the fastest growing majors at the 14 State System universities,” said Dr. Peter Garland, executive vice chancellor of the State System of Higher Education.  “We are pleased to be able to participate in this program and to support the effort to focus attention on the vital area and to help reward students for their outstanding accomplishments.”

In designing and establishing the competition, the Corbett administration worked with an experienced team of Pennsylvania educators, business leaders and STEM content experts to ensure that students experience a high-quality learning experience.

“Pennsylvania is in a battle – not just with other states, but with other nations – to attract and retain employers and jobs,” said David W. Patti, president and CEO, Pennsylvania Business Council.  “Good, family-sustaining 21st century jobs are based in technology.  Technology requires a workforce that is competent in math, science, and engineering.  The Governor's JOBS1st Pennsylvania STEM Competition will help us to build the interest of young people in the education and training that prepares them for great jobs.”

For information about the competition’s rules and guidelines, visit www.pastemcompetition.com.

Media contact:  Chris Brennan, Lt. Governor’s Office, 717-783-3300
Tim Eller, Dept. of Education, 717-783-9802
Kenn Marshall, PASSHE, 717-720-4054
Dave Patti, PA Business Council, 717-232-8700