The United States is facing a well-documented crisis in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education, training, and workforce development.
The Norwin School District Administration proposes that the School District can do its part to help equip students for the future by creating a Norwin STEM Innovation Center, a new facility that would be built on the Norwin campus without local taxpayer money through a business-education collaboration model. The proposed state-of-the-art learning and conference facility will also serve as a professional development center for K-12 educators at Norwin and other school districts.
The business-education collaboration model will provide opportunities for STEM-related business and industry investors, non-profit organizations, private entities, and higher education agencies to offer on-campus instruction, mentorships, internships, cooperative learning experiences, and work-study programs for Norwin High School students to gain real-world experiences in the workplace.
Dr. William Kerr, Superintendent of Schools for Norwin School District, first proposed the concept of the Norwin STEM Innovation Center in a White Paper prepared for the Norwin Board of Education in January of 2013.
Since that time, interest in the concept of a Norwin STEM Innovation Center has grown exponentially. State Senator Kim Ward requested $2.5 million in state funds be provided to the project through the state's Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. To meet the state requirement for matching funds, the District is proceeding with a formal grant application for $2.5 million to a Southwestern Pennsylvania Foundation in partnership with Penn State Greater Allegheny as the primary applicant and fiscal agent. The Foundation grant submission request includes an additional $500,000 for start-up funds for implementation of innovative programs, facility management, sustainability, and staffing. Because of the competitive nature of grants, the specific name of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Foundation cannot be disclosed publicly until the review process moves through several stages of review and final determination.
We invite you to consider how you might partner with Norwin School District in making this concept a reality. Supporting the Norwin STEM Innovation Center is an investment in the future of the Norwin community, and most importantly, of Norwin students.