Jr.Tech Lands $35k Grant from National Grid, MA
FEBRUARY 2, 2015
Contributed by Rachael Devaney January 30, 2015, Barnstable Patriot
Barnstable-based nonprofit organization Jr. Tech has just been awarded a $35,000 grant by National Grid for the third year. According to Lynne Pappetti, a Grid spokesperson, Jr. Tech’s commitment to STEM education has been “tremendous and impactful.”
Barnstable-based nonprofit organization Jr.Tech has just been awarded a $35,000 grant by National Grid for the third year. According to Lynne Pappetti, a Grid spokesperson, Jr.Tech’s commitment to STEM education has been “tremendous and impactful.” The Jr.Tech educational organization runs science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) classes at Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical High School in Sandwich during February, April and summer vacations.
According to Pappetti, manager of corporate citizenship New England, National Grid has chosen to help with Jr.Tech programming, because the nonprofit encourages students to take a lifelong interest in STEM fields, which can help the company with its future workforce.
“National Grid invests in programs that inspire the next generation of our workforce. We are a utility company that is primarily made up of engineers, which there is a lack of in the U.S.,” Pappetti said. “Our goal ultimately is to inspire kids at a young age and engage them and attract them as part of our future workforce. It’s a pipeline process for us.”
Phyllis Russell, executive director of Jr.Tech, agreed and said the STEM education courses they provide to students is part of “a bigger picture.”
“We need students that are trained and skilled in STEM areas for the economy and for the future labor force,” Russell said. “We are really looking at a long term vision and we need a labor force in the U.S. that can remain competitive against world wide companies.”
With this latest grant, Russell explained that classes like Photoshop Skills, Conquering Catapults & Trebuchets and a brand new course called Coding Concepts can now be offered to students grade four through twelve. She said courses keep kids excited and engaged, and will set them up for future success.
“In general our programming surrounds STEM, but that breaks down into things like marine and earth science, biology, forensics, technology as well as digital skills. Kids can also focus on current emerging industries like mobile applications, animation development and website development,” Russell said. “With our Conquering Catapult engineering program, students learn concepts surrounding pulleys, levers and coding concepts and that is really hot right now and our country needs more coders for the future — and that falls under everything from gaming to mobile application development — it is a huge skill that will make someone very employable in the future.”
Another aspect the grant will target is the Girls STEM Summit, which targets young women in grades eight through twelve. Jr. Tech will host 250 girls from across Massachusetts, and according to Russell, the one-day event will provide hands- on sessions highlighting key STEM industries, and will also connect the students to leading women working as experts in STEM fields. She said she hopes the summit will impact and help bridge the gender gap in the sciences, while helping girls find a path to a successful STEM career.
“There is a big need to get more females into these fields and it is important that we close that gender gap. Companies like National Grid know that their future employees rest on the younger generations so we are here to train and skill them and that female component is missing,” Russell said. According to Pappetti, National Grid will continue to support the work of Jr. Tech in the future, and Russell expressed enthusiasm for the ongoing program. Her hope, she said, is that the partnership will “continue to grow, cultivate, and spark ideas in these students.”