Merski, Harkins: Nearly $238,000 in funding awarded to bolster tech, computer curriculum for low-income Erie students

ERIE, April 13 – Grant funding of $237,909 from the state Department of Education will bring a tech-enriched curriculum – including classes in robotics and coding – to students at Erie RISE Leadership Academy Charter School, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today.

The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding under the PAsmart Advancing Grants program promises to help low-income and minority students compete in an increasingly tech-intensive modern workplace.

“Being tech-savvy is no longer considered an added bonus in the workplace – it’s a required skill that employers are demanding for most high-paying, family-sustaining jobs,” Merski said. “Securing this funding is going to help level the playing field for students in underserved, low-income communities by teaching them skills that provide an entry into computer science and tech fields.”

Harkins said, “The funding to Erie RISE is exciting because it will allow the school to add to its curriculum in ways that we know provide a pathway to good jobs. By teaching skills like robotics and coding, we’re giving kids a foundation in the kinds of concrete, tech-based subjects that allow them to compete later on. We’re also building a stronger pool of candidates for local employers and earners who can invest that money back into the community.”

Merski and Harkins said the grant will also fund necessary professional development and training for teachers.

The grant is part of a package of $10.8 million in PAsmart Advancing Grants designed to expand access to computer science and STEM education for Pennsylvania students.

Additional information about the grants is available here.