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Lockheed Martin grants $6M to program of local ed group

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Aerospace firm Lockheed Martin is granting $6 million to a program run by Indianapolis-based not-for-profit education group Project Lead the Way Inc. designed to expand science- and math-related curriculums in U.S. urban school districts.

PLTW develops and supports K-12 science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, curriculum for schools across the country. More than 5,000 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are currently offering PLTW courses to their students.

According to Lockheed Martin and PLTW, the partnership is intended to address issues of national prosperity and security. STEM-related jobs are expected to proliferate in the U.S. in the next several years, but a good portion could go unfilled due to lack of qualified workers.

“STEM education has never been more important for our country, and no one can solve this problem alone,” said PLTW president and CEO Vince Bertram. “Lockheed Martin is deeply committed to helping students succeed and building the next generation workforce in the United States.”

The $6 million grant will cover programs over three schools years, starting with 2014-15, said Jennifer Cahill, senior director of media and public relations for PLTW. The funds will go directly to schools, and not be used to cover PLTW overhead or operating costs, she said.

The specific urban school districts targeted by the expansion will be announced in coming months.

PLTW moved its headquarters from New York to Indianapolis in late 2011. It is planning a local expansion that will add 30 jobs here by 2016.

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