New Jersey Higher Education Commission Awards High-Tech Workforce Grant to the New Jersey Institute of Technology

NEWARK, August 17 - Fewer college students are studying engineering, while elementary students continue to shy away from math and science courses. Meanwhile, the state's high-tech companies need to hire more engineers.

To combat this problem, the New Jersey Higher Education Commission recently awarded a $2.5 million grant to the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) -- funds that NJIT will use to offer a pre-engineering curriculum for middle and high school students. It will prepare students to study engineering in college.

"Experts expect this initiative to increase the number of successful applicants to engineering and related professional programs by at least five percent," says Joel Bloom, NJIT vice president for academic and student services and dean of the Albert Dorman Honors College. "That means more opportunities for more youngsters."

The new curriculum, focusing on science, math, engineering and technology, will be used in at least 100 New Jersey middle and high schools. The grant was awarded to NJIT's Center for Pre-college Programs, one of the oldest and most successful educational programs in the state.

Summer institutes will be created here to train teachers in the curriculum. Web sites will also be used to support teachers as they implement the curriculum in their classrooms. NJIT graduate students will also visit the schools regularly, helping the teachers with the new teaching methods.

The Institute will also develop an Internet network that will include students, teachers and parents. The network will be used to cultivate students' interest in math, science, engineering and technology. Working engineers will use the network to inform students about the exciting careers in technology.

In addition, NJIT will use the grant to attract more minority students, few of whom become engineers. NJIT, in partnership with the National Action Council for Minority Engineering, is developing a better way of assessing minority students' abilities in math and science. NJIT, one of the most diverse schools in the nation, has a long tradition of recruiting and educating both women and minority engineers.

"The road to developing a world-class economy in New Jersey begins with high-tech workforce training," said acting Governor Donald T. Di Francesco, who participated in the grant award ceremony. "The world we send our graduates into each year is continually becoming more global, and they need up to date technical skills to succeed."

NJIT is a public research university enrolling over 8,200 bachelor's, master's and doctoral students in 80 degree programs through its five colleges: Newark College of Engineering, New Jersey School of Architecture, College of Science and Liberal Arts, the School of Management and the Albert Dorman Honors College. Research initiatives include manufacturing, microelectronics, multimedia, transportation, computer science, solar astrophysics, environmental engineering and science, and architecture and building science. According to Yahoo! Internet Life magazine rankings, NJIT has been America's most wired public university for three consecutive years.

Contact Information:   Robert Florida
Public Relations
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