Three Lee County school districts receive STEM grants

Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 5:59 AM CST
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MONTROSE, Ia. (WGEM) - Economic development officials say all of Lee County’s public school districts have been honored by the state for their work in science, technology, engineering and math education.

The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council announced Friday that the Fort Madison, Central Lee and Keokuk school districts all received a STEM BEST (Business Engaging Students and Teachers) H.D. (High Demand) Program award.

Lee County Economic Development Group project director Dana Millard said this isn’t the first time local schools have been honored.

“This is the fourth STEM BEST grant Lee County schools have received for the career advantage center.,” she said. “You can really show through these applications and those grants, and how we’re collaborating together, how important STEM, science, technology, engineering and math are to Southeast Iowa and Lee County.”

According to the council, the STEM BEST H.D. program is designed to prepare students for the workforce by learning skills needed in job sectors like computer science/information technology, healthcare and advanced manufacturing.

“One in four of our careers are in manufacturing and a lot of those careers are STEM related so we want to make sure our student and our communities are prepared for the future,” Millard said.

Each district received $40,000, all of which Millard said will be put towards the completion of the Lee County Career Advantage Center.

Located in Montrose, it will serve as a joint workforce training facility for all three districts as well as the home of the Lee County Economic Development Group.

Millard said the Ft. Madison money will help fund the architectural design and renovation of the building.

She said Keokuk funds will provide furnishings for the first classrooms to be created while the Central Lee funds will fill those classrooms with the necessary technology.

Millard said she hopes to have the building fully open and ready to go by the first week of the school year.

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