RIT’s Project Lead The Way Program Receives $1.1 Million Grant

Grant will create free teacher training program for middle and high school teachers

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Rochester Institute of Technology has been awarded a $1.1 million grant in support of its Project Lead The Way program. The grant, which was awarded by the New York State Education Department through its “Engineers of the Future” program, will support engineering curriculum training for New York state middle and high school teachers.

The grant will underwrite the costs for up to 290 teachers to spend two weeks at RIT this summer, learning the engineering-focused curriculum they will teach their students next year. It will cover the registration fee, room and board and a stipend. The training consists of a 10-day program for teachers new to the curriculum and an advanced eight-day program for experienced Project Lead The Way teachers.

Project Lead The Way is a national pre-engineering program that provides rigorous curriculum with project-based instruction.

“The awarding of this grant recognizes the leadership role RIT plays in increasing the number and quality of engineering graduates entering technology-related industries,” says James Miller, senior vice president of RIT’s division of Enrollment Management and Career Services.

“Normally, school districts must pay the costs of training their Project Lead The Way teachers and for some, especially small and urban districts, these expenses can limit the growth of their program. This grant will ease that financial burden for the state’s school districts.”

Project Lead The Way started in New York state in 1997 to help address the increasing demand—and shortage—of engineering professionals in the United States. RIT is the program’s New York state national affiliate and was the first university to become a partner with Project Lead The Way. In the last decade, RIT has hosted approximately 2,000 teachers from across the nation for training in one or more of the courses. The program is now in 49 states and reaches more than 150,000 students a year.

George Zion, professor of computer engineering technology and the director of RIT’s Project Lead The Way program, is the principal investigator of the grant. Darlene Slack, director of marketing and school relations for Project Lead The Way, will direct the program.