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The Da Vinci Science Center’s efforts to provide STEM learning opportunities to students impacted by poverty has been bolstered by a United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley initiative and support from Bosch Rexroth.
The Center will deliver science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) Classroom Outreach (CORE) Programs inside designated United Way Community Schools in the Allentown, Bethlehem Area, and Easton Area school districts. Bosch Rexroth, which operates in Bethlehem, Pa., presented a $50,000 contribution recently to the local United Way to support the Da Vinci Science Center programs.
The United Way Community Schools effort builds intentional partnerships in 22 schools with high poverty rates. The Da Vinci Science Center will present three-part series of CORE Programs in 12 schools and will engage approximately 1,400 students in grades 4 and 8 during the 2015-2016 school year.
The goals of the programs are to help increase the number of students performing at levels of proficient or higher on annual PSSA science exams; to provide teachers with resources that enhance their inquiry teaching skills, and to increase student interest in STEM careers.
Lin Erickson, the Da Vinci Science Center’s Executive Director and CEO, said that STEM programs in schools impacted by poverty expose students to hands-on science learning opportunities they have likely never experienced and spark their interest in careers that they had never considered. A 2012 study by the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., indicates that 18.7 percent of Lehigh Valley jobs require a high level of STEM knowledge, and that STEM jobs in the area have an average salary of $68,321 per year.
“The programs we are able to deliver through this growing partnership with United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley and Bosch Rexroth helps students build confidence in their ability to learn about STEM subjects and makes them aware of accessible and attainable careers in the community they call home,” Erickson said. “These careers offer family-sustaining wages that can uplift families from poverty and transform future generations with hope.”
The mission of United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley is to provide the leadership, convene the partnerships, and develop the resources and solutions that improve our community. The United Way remains committed to these goals and sincerely appreciates the continued support of partners, program providers, and donors throughout the Lehigh Valley.
The Bosch Community Fund, a U.S.-based foundation established in September 2011, awards up to $3 million annually in grants to various 501(c)(3) organizations and educational institutions. The BCF focuses primarily on the enrichment of STEM education and the advancement of environmental sustainability initiatives.