The Illinois Department of Innovation & Technology (DoIT) announced Aug. 6 the publication of a new website to provide a consolidated resource for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) in Illinois.

The website will provide information on events, news, the educational community, gallery, and categorized resources, including career exploration.

“Governor Pritzker and I share a commitment to expanding STEAM in Illinois and this new site is a key addition to that effort,” commented Ron Guerrier, State of Illinois CIO and secretary of Innovation and Technology. “During my recent virtual Tech Talks with educators, a desire for a one-stop resource for STEAM was expressed and this site is in direct response to that request.”

Mary Reynolds, group CIO for Education at DoIT, said that the website will not only provide resources for teachers, but also parents who are looking to foster their child’s interest in STEAM.

“We want this resource to evolve and grow with help of other STEAM leaders throughout Illinois,” she said. “With the contribution of many organizations, educators, students, and families can readily find events and materials to foster the next generation of STEAM leaders.”

In addition to the new website, the state has rolled out additional funding for STEAM education at all age levels. The state is using income from the Illinois State Lottery to support new STEAM programs. From that funding, the state has launched a new grant program that will support STEAM educational programs for K-12 students, specifically targeting students in lower-income neighborhoods. The grant program will give priority to programs that provide hands-on experience, with a focus on encouraging female students to enter STEAM fields.

“Employment in STEAM occupations has grown rapidly over the past two decades, but Black and Hispanic workers and women are underrepresented in high-wage STEAM careers,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “We are proud to support this effort to expand access to in-demand STEAM careers by giving students a one-stop-shop to explore opportunities. Through this new website and grant program, we are helping students see what’s possible in STEAM careers and providing the supports for them to make those dreams a reality.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs