WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania's science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs were recognized by United States Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith at a recent White House event to champion STEM education in the United States, explaining that the commonwealth's commitment to STEM and computer science education is accelerating opportunities for Pennsylvania's students and families. " Pennsylvania is honored to receive recognition for its efforts to increase access to resources and education in the sciences for all students," said Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera. "Under the leadership of Governor Wolf and the direction of the STEM experts we work with in the Department, in schools, and in the field, we are providing a unique opportunity to our students - the change to leave the classroom prepared to enter a high-quality, high-value career." The White House Symposium of State Implementation of Computer Science for All facilitated discussion -- among guests from the Obama Administration, the National Science Foundation, schools, and non-profit organizations -- on access, policies, and models related to STEM and computer science education. Also highlighted was the Pittsburgh STEM Ecosystem for transforming its community through STEM and Maker education. Since taking office, Governor Wolf has championed STEM education in the commonwealth, and has made clear his goal of increasing by 10,000 the number of students enrolled in STEM-specific majors at state universities by 2020. He also hosts the Governor's PA STEM Competition each year to highlight the importance of STEM education. The annual themed competition is open to public, nonpublic and private school students in grades 9-12 to showcase their skills and expertise in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Working with the legislature, the governor has secured historic increases in his first two years:
$415 million in basic education funding
$60 million for early childhood education
$50 million in special education funding
$14.6 million for early intervention
$81.4 million for PASSHE and state-related schools
$16.4 million for community colleges
"This is an exciting time for students and teachers, as Pennsylvania is on the cutting edge of ensuring all students regardless of ethnicity or zip code have access to learning experiences that will prepare them for the job opportunities of the 21 st century. We are preparing students now for future success through authentic STEM learning experiences," said Judd Pittman, Special Consultant to the Secretary of Education for STEM. " It has been estimated that nearly 70 percent of jobs available in the future will require a computer science skillset, and STEM education programs have been called the key to our economic future. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that between 2010 and 2010, occupations available in STEM fields will grow by 18.7 percent.