The North Central Indiana WIRED region has set its sites on transforming their economy in just one generation, by enhancing the K-12 educational system’s capacity to deliver STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programming to students. Beginning this Fall, they will initiate what may be the nation’s most aggressive and comprehensive regional K-12 STEM initiative by supporting the implementation of Project Lead the Way (PLTW) in EVERY middle school and high school in the region (over the course of two years).
PLTW was developed by the Rochester (New York) Institute of Technology and is recognized as the most effective STEM program in the U.S. Students participating have a much greater chance of pursuing STEM-related higher education and, most importantly, succeed (graduate) from these programs at a much higher rate than students without a PLTW-background. Drop-out rates and change-of-major rates are high for these disciplines and PLTW provides the pre-college work that seems to make a significant difference.
This will certainly be one of North Central Indiana's most transformational undertakings - training an entire generation of scientists, engineers, and technicians. They must also work on other fronts (i.e., entrepreneurship, global industry competitiveness) to make sure the region is a place where these young people can create new businesses and launch careers in high-tech fields.