Grant boosts STEM work-readiness

Demand for skilled professionals in science, technology, engineering and mathematics has reached a critical level nationwide and in South Florida. With an $868,105 grant from the National Science Foundation, Palm Beach State College is doing something about it.

Professor Oleg Andric in Electrical Power Technology/Engineering Technology lab
Professor Oleg Andric guides students in the fully equipped lab for the Engineering Technology and Electrical Power Technology programs.

PBSC’s project, titled “InnovATE” (with a nod to NSF’s Advanced Technological Education grant program), aims to spark student interest in STEM fields through a continuum of outreach, education and guidance, leading them ultimately to satisfying, high-demand careers. The three-year grant provides intensive academic support and customized laboratories for students in the College’s Engineering Technology and Electrical Power Technology Associate in Science degree programs. Plus, higher education pathways are under development to enable these A.S. graduates to pursue STEM-related bachelor’s degrees at Florida institutions.

InnovATE also promotes STEM careers to selected middle and high school students attending Title I schools in the School District of Palm Beach County. The goal is to build a pipeline of graduates, particularly underrepresented minorities and women, ready to study STEM disciplines at Palm Beach State.

“We are looking forward to all of the exciting things that we’ll be doing with the school district and the great support of our industry partners,” says Professor Oleg Andric, InnovATE co-principal investigator and head of the Electrical Power Technology program. “Starting with middle school, we’ll always be in their face, doing something fun with them and showcasing that engineering, science and technology are not scary…hopefully that results in some significant increases and interest in these fields.”

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