Indiana’s efforts to recruit more teachers into the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields were bolstered with the January announcement of $9.7 million in funding from the state’s new STEM Teacher Recruitment Fund, approved by the 2013 General Assembly.
More than 115,000 new STEM jobs are projected for Indiana by 2018, with 40 percent requiring post-secondary education leading to an associate’s degree, and 60 percent requiring a four-year degree.
The funds are being distributed in grants to 10 organizations, including Teach for America, Independent Colleges of Indiana (a group of 31 schools), the University of Southern Indiana Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellowship Program, which received the most funds at $3.7 million.
The program has partnered with Ball State University, the University of Indianapolis, Purdue University, and IUPUI to support 180 participants complete Master’s Degrees to become licensed to teach STEM subjects. Graduates commit to teach for at least three years in Indiana schools with high at-risk student populations.
“Our employers tell us that tomorrow’s workers will need more STEM skills, and Indiana’s goal is to identify and encourage quality teachers to broaden our students’ learning experiences,” said Indiana Governor Mike Pence. “Continuing to recruit top educators and expand our students’ options will only enhance the outstanding work of our teachers, but also help our students as they make decisions about future career opportunities.”
The goal of the multiple-year Teaching Eagles program at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville is to provide scholarship funds to qualified students in an effort to increase the number of content-rich, classroom-ready science and mathematics teacher candidates graduating from the university. A total of 90 scholarships will be awarded and will provide tuition support for selected coursework leading to teacher licensure.
“We’re excited to receive this grant which will provide scholarship opportunities for outstanding USI students interested in teaching science and mathematics at the K-12 level,” said Dr. Scott Gordon, dean of USI’s Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education. “USI has a rich history of producing strong STEM majors and outstanding K-12 classroom teachers, and this grant award will allow us to develop a cutting edge program to provide unique opportunities and financial support for these students.”
Out in the Field
The importance of such skills is reiterated with every investment decision by knowledge-based companies. A January announcement in Bloomington, home of Indiana University, was among the latest.
AB BioTechnologies, Inc. announced plans to create 10 jobs by 2016. A homegrown-Hoosier company, AB develops formulations and manufacturing processes for injectable drug products, and will invest $1.2 million to renovate and equip its current 1,100-sq.-ft. lab in Bloomington.
As part of its growth strategy, AB BioTechnologies plans to begin developing processes and injectable solutions for clinical trials. The IEDC offered AB BioTechnologies, Inc. up to $350,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $20,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. Monroe County will consider tax abatement for AB, which is supported by the Bloomington Economic Development Corp.
“Since opening our first laboratory, our profits have tripled every year,” said J. Jeff Schwegman, Ph.D., CEO of AB BioTechnologies. “Our foothold is growing in a niche market within the pharmaceutical and diagnostic industries, leading to this expansive growth. The wealth of qualified candidates coming out of both Indiana University and Ivy Tech, coupled with Indiana’s low cost of doing business and high quality of life, made Bloomington the perfect place for our expansion. Life science companies are dominating the landscape of Bloomington and we’re thrilled to be part of this movement.”
Among the 10 grant recipients are the following organizations:
Project Lead the Way ($247,500)
Recognized as a national leader in high school engineering and biomedical science curricula, Project Lead the Way will expand training opportunities for teachers to become certified to teach PLTW Pathway to Engineering, Biomedical Science, and Gateway Technology courses and curricula. PLTW will focus on STEM career and technical education pathways for high school students aligned with work-based learning opportunities, particularly in advanced manufacturing.
Contact: Amanda Kamman: firstname.lastname@example.org
Through the development of the Hire Technology advanced manufacturing and logistics curriculum for high school students, Conexus is preparing students for middle-skills jobs in high wage economic growth sectors. Conexus will expand the recruitment and training of Hire Technology teacher by including Pre-service teachers at Marian University and Ball State University. Additionally, Conexus will recruit college graduates and working professionals to complete Hire Technology teaching certification requirements through Ivy Tech Community College.
Contact: Claudia Cummings: email@example.com
Indiana Association of Career & Technical Education Directors ($290,881)
The IACTED will partner with the Indiana Department of Education, Ball State University, Indiana State University, IUPUI and Vincennes University to recruit and train teachers for STEM career and technical education courses. Participants will complete the Workplace Specialist I CTE teacher training program and Workplace Specialist II licensure requirements.
Contacts: Marilyn Metzler: firstname.lastname@example.org