FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 27, 2017) – The Lieutenant Governor’s STEM Challenge for Girls, which begin as a pilot program at two Fayette County Middle Schools, has been awarded a $25,000 grant to continue and expand the program in 2018.
“Thanks to Verizon the Lieutenant Governor’s STEM Challenge for Girls will now be piloted in the Louisville area, giving middle school girls opportunities for training and mentoring from female STEM professionals,” said Lt. Gov. Hampton. “The Lexington program will also expand to include 8th grade girls who participated in in the initial pilot.”
Developed by the Kentucky Commission on Women (KCW), the program seeks to inspire and promote learning opportunities for girls in STEM-related fields. Verizon sought out the program because they felt it was a perfect complement to their mission of bringing technology and hands-on learning opportunities directly to kids who need it most. Verizon’s goal is to inspire tomorrow’s creators to use technology to build brighter futures for themselves, their families and the world.
The multi-week after-school program will begin in January 2018. The Verizon grant will allow KCW to continue the program with the former seventh graders (now eighth graders), add a new group of seventh graders in Lexington while expanding the program to seventh grade girls in Louisville.
“I’m ecstatic to have the funding from Verizon to grow the program,” said Cordelia Harbut, executive director of the Kentucky Commission on Women. “Some of these young ladies had no idea these type of opportunities existed for them. I just loved seeing their minds open up to the possibilities.”
The free program includes all afterschool refreshments, materials, supplies and a program-end celebration. Each session will be led by a STEM profession and have an on-site teacher to assist in instruction and supervision.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM jobs comprise more than 10 percent of the jobs in the United States, and many of those jobs pay wages almost double the U.S. average. The 2016 Census Bureau’s American Community Survey further reports women make up almost half of the U.S. workforce but just 24 percent of STEM-related workers.
The program will continue to be piloted at Leestown and Tates Creek Middle School in Lexington as well as Olmstead South and Westport Middle in Louisville.