Project Lead The Way Thriving in Iowa; Innovative Education Program Grew 23 Percent in 2009
03/30/2010

Iowa students’ participation in an innovative series of middle and high school classes that blend science, technology, engineering and math grew by 23 percent in 2009. More than 11,000 students in 100 schools took part in the program.

Online PR News – 30-March-2010 – – Iowa students’ participation in Project Lead the Way (PTLW) – an innovative series of middle and high school classes that blend science, technology, engineering and math – grew by 23 percent in 2009. More than 11,000 students in 100 schools took part in the program. The numbers marked the program’s continued growth in its fifth year in the state, which featured 6,800 students two years ago. Nationally, PLTW courses are offered in 3,500 schools.

“Experience in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is vital to students as they prepare for college and the workforce,” said David Rethwisch, PLTW Iowa affiliate director. “With more than half of the engineers and scientists in the United States nearing retirement, technical industries are in desperate need of workers who will be responsible for innovation and economic growth. The commitment and dedication of Iowa school students, teachers and administrators are to be applauded.”

According to U.S. government data, job openings requiring expertise in STEM will increase by 18.3 percent through 2014.

Business and state education leaders plan to continue PLTW expansion in Iowa during 2010. Enrollment since the program’s start in 2005 has steadily increased due to the collaborative efforts of schools, public and private organizations and the business community.

Iowa’s Department of Economic Development, Department of Education and 15 community colleges have teamed up to fuel program growth and work in concert on implementation funding in high schools. Through partnerships formed with PLTW schools, business and industry across the state have also generously supported Iowa schools to ensure the curriculum reaches more students each year.

The University of Iowa and Iowa State University have further supported the program by allowing high school students to apply for college credit for seven PLTW courses. In addition, both institutions offer professional development for teachers as part of the PLTW program.

About Project Lead the Way

Created in response to the expected 15 million engineer and technical worker shortage (according to U.S. Government estimates) in the U.S. by the year 2015, PLTW helps students apply academic engineering and technology concepts in compelling, real-world ways. The program has established partnerships with schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

General information about PLTW can be found at www.pltw.org, while state-specific information is located at www.pltwiowa.org. At these websites, school leaders interested in initiating PLTW at their schools may learn more about the program. Additional information may be obtained by contacting Roger Utman at roger.utman@iowa.gov or 515-281-8260.

Editors Note: To arrange an interview with national, state, or local PLTW leaders, or receive photos of students participating in PLTW activities, contact Chad Ritterbusch or Marc Whitney at 262-786-5970.