Orange County Public Schools expands STEM curriculum through multi-million dollar investment from Lockheed Martin
Grant will expand college and career-focused programs aimed to better prepare students with vital 21st century skills
ORLANDO, Fla. (Feb. 5, 2015) – To address the nation’s critical need for future engineers, computer scientists and math- and science-trained professionals, and to equip all students with the skills critical for their future success, Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] today announced a new $2 million, multi-year grant to support the expansion of college and career-focused science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs for all Orange County Public Schools (OCPS). The STEM curriculum is offered through Project Lead The Way (PLTW), the nation’s leading provider of K-12 STEM programs.
OCPS is the second urban school district to expand STEM programming through Lockheed Martin’s national agreement with PLTW. Through the grant, 40 schools will begin offering PLTW programs for the 2015-16 school year. Over the course of the grant, every OCPS elementary, middle and high school will have the opportunity to implement a PLTW program of study.
“Orange County Public Schools has enjoyed a tremendous partnership with Lockheed Martin and Project Lead The Way for several years,” said Dr. Barbara Jenkins, superintendent at OCPS. “We are extremely grateful for this generous grant which will significantly improve the STEM experience for all of our students.”
Lockheed Martin has committed $6 million nationally to expand PLTW programs in select U.S. urban school districts. Schools that receive grant funding can use the funds to pay for PLTW program participation fees, teacher professional development training, and classroom equipment and supplies. In addition, Lockheed Martin engineers will volunteer in classrooms at the participating schools, building relationships with students as role models and mentors.
“This partnership gives our talented workforce the opportunity to interact one-on-one with students and share the excitement of STEM,” said Rick Edwards, executive vice president at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “This is another aspect of our commitment to the economic wellbeing and development of the Orlando area, where Lockheed Martin and its predecessor companies have had a presence for almost 60 years.”
Dale Bennett, executive vice president at Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training, added, “Through PLTW, we hope students will be energized to pursue STEM careers and understand they can help our world overcome complex challenges by pushing the boundaries of scientific discovery. STEM education is critically important to our nation and the future of its technology-based industries.”
Expanding student access to STEM education is an issue of national prosperity and security. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that, by 2018, STEM-related jobs in the U.S. will grow by 17 percent, nearly double the rate of jobs in non-STEM fields. The Department estimates 1.2 million unfilled STEM jobs by 2018, due to a lack of qualified, trained workers. Expanding access to STEM education for underrepresented minority students is also of great interest; only 10 percent of U.S. scientists and engineers come from underrepresented minority groups.
“The partnership between Lockheed Martin and Orange County Public Schools, utilizing PLTW’s programs, is a model for how public and private partnerships can help solve the education and workforce development challenges facing our nation,” said Dr. Vince Bertram, president and chief executive officer at PLTW. “We are grateful for Lockheed Martin’s leadership and the opportunities they are creating for students in Orlando and other urban areas.”
More than 6,500 schools across the U.S. currently use PLTW’s programs in engineering, biomedical science and computer science. Through hands-on, activity-, project- and problem-based curricula, PLTW helps students develop the knowledge and critical skills that they need to be successful in the global economy. In addition to world-class curricula, PLTW also provides high-quality, rigorous professional development to each teacher who instructs a PLTW course.
About Lockheed Martin:
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 112,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2014 were $45.6 billion.
About Orange County Public Schools:
Orange County Public Schools is the 10th-largest school district in the nation and the fourth-largest in Florida. More than 191,000 students are enrolled in OCPS. Currently, there are more than 200 school sites including alternative centers and charter schools. The district is the 2014 winner of The Broad Prize for Urban Education, considered the Nobel Prize for public education. OCPS is the second-largest employer in Orange County, Florida, with more than 20,000 full and part-time employees.
About Project Lead The Way:
Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the nation’s leading provider of K-12 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs. PLTW’s world-class, activity-, project-, and problem-based curriculum and high-quality teacher professional development model, combined with an engaged network of educators and corporate partners, help students develop the skills needed to succeed in the global economy. More than 6,500 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and D.C. currently offer PLTW courses to their students. For more information, visit www.pltw.org.