USA Funds has announced two grants totaling $6.8 million in support of initiatives to strengthen Hawaii's innovation economy and expand education and employment opportunities for state residents.
A $2.2 million grant to Project Lead the Way, a national nonprofit that provides learning experiences to K-12 students and teachers, will help at least forty-eight Hawaii high schools establish programs in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. As part of the initiative, the Indianapolis-based organization will provide professional development support to teachers and will work with local partners to ensure that materials and programs are culturally relevant.
In addition, a two-year, $4.6 million grant to the University of Hawai'i will support a multifaceted economic and workforce development initiative that includes the promotion of multi-sectoral collaborations aimed at determining current and future STEM workforce needs in the state; creation of a continuous academic pathway in STEM fields through college; support for just-in-time workforce development; and the improvement of information available to help students select the best path to a STEM career and help policy makers and educators better assess the outcomes of education and training programs. The university also will establish a STEM Center of Excellence to coordinate STEM-related activities across the state.
"This transformative initiative will help ensure Hawaii is able to create and attract the jobs of the future and fill these jobs with in-state talent," said USA Funds president and CEO William D. Hansen. "Consistent with USA Funds' focus on college Completion With a Purpose, this partnership will link student success in education to rewarding and fulfilling careers following graduation, while enhancing the state's overall economic vitality."