Gov. Steve Beshear and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, co-chairs of Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR), joined educators from 22 eastern Kentucky school districts to help kick-off an education initiative aimed at building a STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) workforce by creating new opportunities for teachers through National Board Certification.
Morehead State University has partnered with the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education, University of Pikeville, Department for Local Government and Touchstone Energy Cooperatives to provide 64 teachers in 22 of the highest unemployment, highest poverty SOAR counties with National Board Teaching Certification (NBTC). The selected teachers started the three-year program earlier this month.
by Anthony “Tony” Campbell, CEO EKPC, Op-Ed for The Courier Journal
For Eastern Kentucky, the statistics are as familiar as they are disheartening: Over half of coal-mining jobs gone in the last five years; one-quarter of residents living below poverty level; and average per-capita incomes stuck at a fraction of the rest of the nation.
Last year, numbers like these prompted a New York Times reporter to write that Eastern Kentucky “just might be the hardest place to live in the United States. Statistically speaking.”
But people are not statistics. If you don’t live and work in Eastern Kentucky and know the people here, it can be difficult to imagine how things could change for the better. But, because of those people, the electric cooperatives serving Eastern Kentucky are convinced the region’s future is bright. All that’s lacking are the tools necessary for people—especially younger generations—to help themselves.
By Valarie Honeycutt Spears, Lexington-Herald Leader
East Kentucky Power Cooperative and the non-profit Project Lead The Way are pursuing an initiative to improve science, technology, engineering and math education in Eastern Kentucky to bring high-skill, high-wage jobs to the region, a news release said.
On Wednesday, at a Clinton Global Initiative America meeting in Denver, former President Bill Clinton announced the organizations’ plan to help the region’s public school teachers pursue professional development, and for school districts to implement Project Lead The Way’s STEM-based curriculum, the news release said.
The Clinton Global Initiative, an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to address challenges.
The overall initiative is called STEM-Transforming Eastern Kentucky, or STEM-TEK. Its plan is to provide professional development opportunities for 3,000 teachers. The intent is to engage more than 80,000 students in 19 counties, the news release said.
Commitment by East Kentucky Power Cooperative, Inc., Project Lead the Way
In 2015, the East Kentucky Power Cooperative and Project Lead The Way committed to pilot STEM Transforming Eastern Kentucky (STEM-TEK), a comprehensive K-16 STEM education initiative that will equip students with the 21st century skills needed to attract industry and employers to the region. Over the course of three years, commitment partners will implement Project Lead The Ways K-12 STEM curriculum in 177 schools across 19 counties, providing ongoing professional development and promoting certification for 3,000 teachers, and engaging over 82,000 students in high-quality project-based STEM learning.
Denver, Colo. (June 10, 2015) – East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) and Project Lead The Way (PLTW) are pursuing a one-of-a-kind initiative to transform Eastern Kentucky into a center for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, in order to bring high-skill, high-wage jobs to the region.
Tuesday, at the Clinton Global Initiative America meeting, former President Bill Clinton announced the organizations’ plan to help the region’s teachers pursue professional development, and for school districts to implement PLTW’s innovative STEM-based curriculum.
“We are creating the building blocks for success and prosperity in Eastern Kentucky,” said Anthony “Tony” Campbell, EKPC’s president & CEO. “We see this as the beginning of a long-term effort to fundamentally change the environment for high-quality jobs and investment in the region.”