Portland State University will receive a $600,000 state grant to improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education from preschool to graduate school in the Portland area, the Oregon Department of Education announced Feb. 25.
PSU will lead one of six regional STEM Hubs across Oregon aiming to foster 21st century STEM career skills and provide for student populations that have historically been underserved and underrepresented throughout the state.
“Portland State is delighted to have the opportunity to enhance our existing collaborative approach to STEM education,” said Sona Andrews, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “The work we will be doing with the our STEM partners is certain to make a huge difference for many students, educators and industries in the metro area and beyond.”
The grant will help expand the Portland Metro STEM Partnership, a regional collaboration of about 40 organizations including PSU, Oregon Health & Science University, Intel and the Portland, Beaverton and Hillsboro and Forest Grove school districts. The backbone of the organization is the Intel STEM Center, located in space donated by the Beaverton School District.
The state funding will pay to train more STEM educators, link in-school and out-of-school STEM programs, transform STEM education in schools and hire more people to lead and support the efforts.
In the past ten years, STEM jobs have grown three times faster than non-STEM jobs, and this pace is expected to continue throughout the next decade, according to the state education department. Meanwhile, more than half of African American and Latino eighth graders do not meet state benchmarks in math, and about half of students of color do not meet benchmarks in science.
“Literacy in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics holds tremendous opportunity for our students,” said Oregon Chief Education Officer Dr. Nancy Golden. “This is especially true for students from communities of color.”
The Oregon Education Investment Board awarded a total of $2.8 million to six regional STEM hubs as a key strategic investment to support Oregon’s 40-40-20 goal. The state wants 40 percent of its adult residents to earn a bachelor’s or advanced degree, 40 percent to have an associate’s degree or postsecondary certificate and 20 percent to hold a high school diploma by 2025.
The other five regional STEM hubs are:
- Central Oregon STEM Hub, led by the High Desert Museum serving Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson Counties
- GO STEM Collaborative led by Eastern Oregon University serving Wallowa, Union, Umatilla, Morrow, Baker, Grant, Harney and Malheur Counties
- Oregon Coast Regional STEM Hub led by Lincoln School District serving Lincoln, Tillamook, Clatsop, and Coos Counties
- South Metro Salem STEM Partnership led by Oregon Tech serving Multnomah, Clackamas, Marion, Washington and Polk Counties
- Umpqua Valley Regional STEAM Hub led by Umpqua Community College serving Douglas County
About Portland State University (PSU)
Located in Portland, Oregon, PSU has about 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students. PSU’s motto is “Let Knowledge Serve the City,” and we provide every student with opportunities to work with businesses, schools and organizations on real-world projects. Our downtown campus exhibits PSU’s commitment to sustainability with green buildings, while sustainability is incorporated into much of the curriculum.
The Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB) is chaired by Governor John Kitzhaber and was created in 2011 to oversee an effort to build a seamless, unified system for investing in and delivering public education from birth to college & career. OEIB is dedicated to building a student-centric system that links all segments of the educational experience together to ensure each student is poised for a promising future.