Funding Will Help Universities Address STEM Teacher Shortage in Minnesota

WASHINGTON, D.C. [03/05/20]—U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) announced that the National Science Foundation has awarded more than $2 million to fund projects at Bemidji State University and St. Cloud State University aimed at addressing the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teacher shortage in Minnesota. 

“As we work to address teacher shortages across Minnesota and our country, we must invest in students who want to serve their communities as educators in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM),” said Sen. Klobuchar “These National Science Foundation awards promoting STEM education will help Bemidji State University and St. Cloud State University increase the number of STEM teachers and prepare our students for the jobs of the future.”

“Too many Minnesota schools are struggling to find STEM teachers to fill their classrooms—especially schools in rural areas,” said Sen. Smith. “Ultimately, these teacher shortages limit opportunities for our kids to do well in STEM subjects and become interested in STEM careers.  I’m glad that Bemidji State University and St. Cloud State University are working to address this problem, and that the National Science Foundation is supporting their work. I am especially pleased that the grant will emphasize recruiting students who begin their education at two-year institutions. I hope that these projects will succeed in increasing the number of STEM teachers and help our students get the best education possible.”

An intended grant total of $1,195,990 for Bemidji State University will fund a project aimed at increasing the number of mathematics teachers in rural areas. This project includes partnerships with Peacemaker Resources, Normandale and Mesabi Range Community Colleges, Northwest Service Cooperative, Sourcewell, Cass Lake, Bena School District, Laporte School District, Red Lake School District, Schoolcraft Learning Community and St. Mary’s Mission School. You can find out more details about the project here

An intended grant total of $1,199,960 for St. Cloud State University will go toward increasing the number of mathematics, chemistry and physics teachers in high-need, diverse schools. This project includes partnerships with Anoka Ramsey Community College, St. Cloud Technical and Community College, and the St. Cloud Area School District. You can find out more about the project here

Overcoming teacher shortages in Minnesota and across the country is a top priority for Sen. Smith. Her Addressing Teacher Shortages Act would help recruit and retain teachers in rural school districts, in hard to staff subject areas, such as STEM and special education educators, and would help support districts in diversifying the teacher workforce. 

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