Pa. governor gives ‘underserved’ K-12 districts $8.7 million for computer science education

Gov. Tom Wolf's office says the funding of about $11,000 per school is meant to help "students of color, low-income students and girls."
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (Flickr / Governor Tom Wolf)

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced last week an $8.7 million investment in computer science classes and teacher training for K-12 schools as part of the state’s commitment to STEM education and emerging technology jobs.

“Over the next decade, seven in ten new jobs in Pennsylvania will require workers to use computers and new technologies in a constantly changing economy,” Wolf said in a press release Wednesday. “With these grants, more students will get the skills they need for emerging high-demand jobs.”

The targeted grants serve as part of the governor’s new PAsmart initiative, an investment in the commonwealth’s existing and future workforce. According to the state website, the initiative secured $20 million to bring high-quality computer science and science, technology, engineering and mathematics education to elementary, middle, and high school students, and professional development for teachers.

Of 500 public K-12 school districts in the state, the new funding will benefit 221 school districts, two career and technical centers, 18 charter and cyber charter schools, and eight intermediate units. Each recipient will be given $35,000 to be used for the introduction and expansion of computer science educational programming. The funding will reach 765 schools, which equates to roughly $11,000 per school.


According to the governor’s office, the schools to receive funding were selected based on how the investment could reach “students of color, low-income students and girls to learn critical skills needed to succeed in today’s workforce.”

“Equity continues to be an area of focus for Pennsylvania’s schools by providing access and opportunities to all students regardless of zip code,” said state Education Secretary Pedro Rivera. “The PAsmart targeted grants will help to address opportunity gaps, boosting participation among historically underserved and underrepresented student populations.”

Pensylvania’s investment into STEM education comes as other states announce similar initiatives to address the changing needs of the workforce and education. Utah lawmakers, for example, recently granted $20 million for new digital teaching and learning programs.

Additional funding in the PAsmart initiative is to be announced in the coming weeks.

Betsy Foresman

Written by Betsy Foresman

Betsy Foresman was an education reporter for EdScoop from 2018 through early 2021, where she wrote about the virtues and challenges of innovative technology solutions used in higher education and K-12 spaces. Foresman also covered local government IT for StateScoop, on occasion. Foresman graduated from Texas Christian University in 2018 — go Frogs! — with a BA in journalism and psychology. During her senior year, she worked as an intern at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., and moved back to the capital after completing her degree because, like Shrek, she feels most at home in the swamp. Foresman previously worked at Scoop News Group as an editorial fellow.

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