WASHINGTON — Because the livelihood of today´s workforce, as well as state economies across the country, rests on the ability to compete in today´s global economy, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) today awarded Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia $500,000 grants to establish science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education centers in their states.

A new workforce of problem-solvers, innovators, and inventors who are self-reliant and able to think logically is one of the critical foundations that drive a state economy´s innovation capacity. The grants will allow states to create new STEM centers, support the development of a network of STEM centers or repurpose existing STEM Centers. The centers will serve as the foundation for an improved workforce through:

? Aligning K-12 STEM education requirements with postsecondary and workplace expectations;
? Improving the quantity and quality of STEM teachers;
? Benchmarking state K-12 STEM standards, assessments and curricula to top performing nations in STEM education achievement and attainment;
? Garnering public will for change to implement a better aligned system; and
? Identifying best practices in STEM education and bringing them to scale.

"Governors recognize the links between a rigorous STEM education program and our leadership in the global economy," said Raymond C. Scheppach, executive director of the National Governors Association. "These grants will strengthen the economic competitiveness of the United States by improving our capacity for innovation."

STEM centers will help state K-12 education systems ensure all students graduate from high school with essential competencies in science, technology, engineering, and math. These competencies are integral to improving overall high school graduation and college readiness rates and supporting a state economy´s innovation capacity related to the businesses that operate within their leading economic clusters.

The STEM center grants are being awarded as part of NGA Chair Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano´s Innovation America initiative. An independent national selection committee comprised of leading innovation and education experts selected the six states from submitted proposals. All states and U.S. territories were invited to apply for the grant and 24 applications were received.

The grants are made possible with the generous support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Intel Corporation.

To learn more about governors´ efforts to promote STEM education agendas in their states, visit www.nga.org/center/edu.

Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association (NGA) is the collective voice of the nation´s governors and one of Washington, D.C.´s most respected public policy organizations. Its members are the governors of the 50 states, three territories and two commonwealths. NGA provides governors and their senior staff members with services that range from representing states on Capitol Hill and before the Administration on key federal issues to developing and implementing innovative solutions to public policy challenges through the NGA Center for Best Practices. For more information, visit www.nga.org.

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