The Utah Department of Workforce Services is launching a $6 million grant program to help public schools in Utah fund science, technology, engineering and math or STEM programs.
STEM education allows students like these at the Granite Technical Institute to not only learn, but apply skills to help better prepare them to enter the increasingly tech driven workforce. Martin Bates is the Superintendent of the Granite School District. He says he’s less interested in what this newly available funding source from DWS means for the district, than what it means for the students, particularly underserved ones.
“The beauty of STEM is that it makes things relevant, and meaningful, and engaging in ways that a regular classroom just plain can’t," he says. "So, the money and the funds will just be able to do things with kids and give kids opportunities to do things themselves and build, and grow, and visit, and learn, and do, and create that are just outstanding.”
The money for the new STEMLink grants is coming from the Department of Workforce Services. Of the $6 million they’re making available, $5 million is coming from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF funds. DWS Executive Director Jon Pierpont says he believes the data show that STEM helps train students for future jobs.
“And so investing some of our program dollars towards STEM related activities and programs across the state is a wise investment to prepare the workforce of the future and to engage kids in classrooms across the state about the importance of STEM,” he says.
All public schools will be able to apply for the new STEMLink grants. Individual awards will range from $50 thousand to $100 thousand.