Springfield, IL -The Illinois Department of Innovation & Technology (DoIT) announced today the publication of a new website to provide a consolidated resource for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) in Illinois. View the new site at https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/doit-steam/Pages/default.aspx.
Organizations across the state are committed to advancing STEAM, and this is the first site to provide a central location for the collaboration of resources. The new Illinois DoIT STEAM site 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, who led the effort shared, “We want this resource to evolve and grow with help of other STEAM leaders throughout Illinois. With the contribution of many organizations; educators, students and families can readily find events and materials to foster the next generation of STEAM leaders.”
Support for STEAM comes from every geographic corner of Illinois, as well as for a variety of age levels from birth to post-college. Funding streams for STEAM initiatives are diverse and the Illinois State Lottery recently became involved with the launch of their Booming Bucks instant ticket and will support the School STEAM Grant Program, which the Illinois State Board of Education will administer.
As authorized by state statute, the new grant program will support STEAM programming for K-12 students in Illinois, specifically 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.”
The STEAM website was developed in consult with Illinois educators. One of those contributors was Joe Fatheree from Effingham High School, who was also a Top 10 Finalist for the 2016 Global Teacher Prize, 2009 NEA National Award for Teaching Excellence and 2007 Illinois Teacher of the Year. Fatheree stated, “Thanks (to) DoIT for supporting STEAM education and providing our students a gateway for a brighter tomorrow”.
Those interested in learning more or contributing to Illinois DoIT’s STEAM website can submit ideas, information or questions to the site’s contact page.