Preparing Students for the 21st Century Workforce

From local businesses to major corporations, a qualified workforce is a top concern for job creators.

This week lawmakers will hear a bill, SB 1056, designed to expand access to computer science courses in Florida’s public schools. The Florida Chamber supports this legislation and any efforts to better prepare students for high paying, in-demand careers.

David Dimmett, Senior Vice President of Project Lead the Way, discusses the importance of computer science skills in the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line public affairs program.

“In my view, computer science is the new literacy. Without this essential skill, students are going to have a lifetime of missed opportunities. The jobs of the future will require a foundation in these skills,” Dimmett said. “Gone are the days when schools can do this work in isolation or alone. The best school districts across the country are doing this work in partnership with their business and industry partners in their local community and across the state.”

Verizon & PLTW Offering Computer Science Opportunity for Florida Students

By Jennifer Cahill Erbacher, Senior Director of Media and Public Relations, Project Lead The Way, Inc.

Florida middle schools can apply for a grant to offer hands-on, project-based computer science learning to their students for the 2017-18 school year. More than $3 million in grant funding is available to 150 middle schools nationwide, thanks to Verizon and Project Lead The Lead (PLTW), a nonprofit that provides transformative learning experiences for K-12 students and teachers. The grant is an expansion of an initial $5 million partnership between the two organizations, which has allowed more than 240 middle schools across 36 states – including 20 in Florida – to train teachers and implement PLTW’s high-quality computer science curriculum.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates more than 1.3 million open positions in computer- and math-related fields by 2022, with computer science skills needed in more than 180 industries from auto repair to health care. Yet a recent Gallup survey showed that less than 40 percent of U.S. schools offer any form of computer science education.

PLTW’s middle school computer science units – App Creators and Computer Science for Innovators and Makers – are part of PLTW’s K-12 Computer Science pathway and are built on PLTW’s hands-on, project-based instructional approach. The units provide an opportunity for students to experience computer science in a relevant and engaging way, empowering them to solve problems using the powerful ideas behind computational thinking and preparing them for further computer science learning in high school.

The application for grant funding is currently open, and eligible schools must apply by April 15. For more information or to apply, visit https://www.pltw.org/experience-pltw/funding-and-grant-opportunities

Providing Florida Students with Access to Real-World Learning Experiences

By Jennifer Cahill Erbacher, Senior Director of Media and Public Relations, Project Lead The Way, Inc.

Thirty high school students from Palm Beach Central High School in Wellington, FL, had a chance to connect their learning to the real-world on Feb. 17 as part of National Engineers Week. The students, who are all involved in their school’s Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Engineering Program, visited Lockheed Martin’s Palm Beach manufacturing facility where the company designs, manufactures, integrates, and tests manned and unmanned Underwater Vehicles for military and commercial customers around the world. For the students, it was a critical opportunity to understand how a world-leader in engineering applies the very concepts and skills the students are learning in their PLTW program, and engage in career exploration for their futures.

Lockheed Martin has partnered with PLTW across the country, providing more than $6 million since 2013 to fund schools’ PLTW programs, mentoring students, and providing real-world learning experiences like the one with Palm Beach Central H.S. students.

 

 

Over 300 schools across the state offer PLTW’s hands on, project-based learning in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, as well professional development for teachers. There are opportunities for all companies to partner with these schools on internships, mentoring, classroom speakers, and field trips. Doing so is not only beneficial to students, but provides value to companies as they expose students to job opportunities and help them develop the knowledge and skills employers need in a rapidly evolving technical world. To find a PLTW school in Florida near you, visit PLTW’s School Locator.