Southwest Central Indiana is home to over 27,000 jobs in the advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and defense and national security sectors. In April 2017, ROI released its first Occupational Needs Assessment to highlight the education and workforce needs within these sectors in the greater Southwest Central Indiana region. The Assessment emphasized the importance of having a STEM-literate talent pool to meet the workforce needs within the region and to provide a basis for continued job growth and attraction.

In September 2017, ROI announced a grant opportunity to advance out-of-school K-12 STEM learning in all of Southwest Central Indiana’s 11 counties. Facilitated through each of Southwest Central Indiana’s community foundations, Advancing Out-of-School STEM Learning Grants will fund programs that engage youth through hands-on activities that add value and extend the school experiences.

Out-of-school STEM learning occurs outside of the traditional school day, including before and after school and summer programs, and may be provided by school districts, community organizations, nonprofits, and cultural institutions such as libraries and museums. Examples of out-of-school STEM programs include robotics clubs, coding programs, makerspaces, STEM camps, industry mentorships, and career exploration experiences.

ROI has granted $25,000 to each of Southwest Central Indiana’s 11 community foundations. In turn, they will make grants available in their counties to extend existing STEM programs or to develop new out-of-school opportunities.

Community Foundations receiving Advancing Out-of-School STEM Learning Grants include:

  • Brown County Community Foundation
  • Community Foundation of Crawford County
  • Daviess County Community Foundation
  • Dubois County Community Foundation
  • Greene County Foundation
  • Lawrence County Community Foundation
  • Martin County Community Foundation
  • Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County
  • Orange County Community Foundation
  • Owen County Community Foundation
  • Washington County Community Foundation

“Community Foundations throughout Southwest Central Indiana have been, and continue to be, incredible partners in our regional education and workforce development efforts,” said ROI CEO Tina Peterson. “As local conveners and leadership organizations within their own communities, these foundations are closely connected to the education and nonprofit organizations in their areas. As such, they are uniquely qualified to identify the best out-of-school STEM opportunities for youth across our region.”

More information on programs funded through ROI Out-of-School STEM Learning Grants will be announced in the fall of 2017.