The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

April 17, 2013

Building a STEM workforce


---- — We read with interest the commentary by Wesley Knapp entitled, "STEM in our schools." As the local Workforce Investment Board (WIB), we couldn't agree more that early introduction of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills is critical to building a future pipeline of engineers, scientists, medical professionals and computer scientists. However, sometimes the aptitude and direction for STEM fields can come later in life brought on by career changes, increased awareness of job opportunities or the completion of a degree.

Something your readers may not know is that within the Susquehanna Valley, there is an educational scholarship opportunity, worth up to $20,000 in tuition assistance, available for individuals to expand their credentials in the STEM fields to meet employer demand now. The Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation (CPWDC), with funding through the US Department of Labor, is able to offer career coaching and scholarships through the STEM Career Advancement Project of Central PA.

The opportunity is geared toward eligible unemployed and underemployed individuals who may wish to expedite the completion of a bachelor's degree program or who find themselves in need of additional credentials to put an existing degree to work. These individuals have a combination of work experience and education, which when given the most appropriate education opportunity, will be readied for a more advanced STEM position in nursing, allied health, information technology, engineering or management. To date, more than 50 scholarships have been awarded. All scholarship funded training must be completed by May 2015, so having some transferable education as well as work background is the approach. Interested parties are asked to review the information at: http://www.cpwdc.org/stem/ and complete the online prequalification form.

Rachel Smith, Lewisburg