Howard County Executive Ken Ulman announced that the Howard County Library System (HCLS) has received $100,000 in federal grant funding to launch iTech, a digital learning initiative for middle and high school students to elevate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning.
“This grant reflects Howard County’s commitment to quality education and innovation,” said County Executive Ulman. “In today’s high-tech, global economy, it is more critical than ever that students receive the finest in STEM education. This award will enhance Howard County Library’s STEM curriculum for the benefit of our students, teaching tomorrow’s workforce the 21st century knowledge and skills needed today.”
One of only 12 successful applicants, HCLS competed with 100 other educational institutions from 32 states for funding available through President Obama’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign. The grants were awarded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
“We are especially pleased that iTech will be headquartered in the newly expanded areas of our Savage Branch,” noted HCLS President & CEO Valerie Gross. “We thank Executive Ken Ulman, and also the County Council, for approving our use of the available space, and for providing the capital funding needed for renovations.”
Developed by HCLS, iTech is a project that combines state-of-the-art multimedia tools, software, technical consultants, mentors, and networking – all delivered to teens in an inviting, youth-oriented atmosphere. Opening in the spring of 2012, iTech will enable creative thinking and engaged self-directed education in the areas of technology, engineering and math. Teens will work individually and collaboratively on STEM-based projects.
“These children are our future innovators, problem solvers and leaders,” said U.S. Representative John Sarbanes. “This grant will provide hands-on learning opportunities that help put young Marylanders on a successful career path and keep our nation competitive.”
iTech partners include: The Institute for Learning Innovation and Mindgrub Technologies, LLC; the Howard County Public School System; Howard Community College; Voices for Change; University of Maryland’s Clark School of Engineering; Columbia Association and Friends of Howard County Library.