The Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment has announced an additional $5 million in grants to the Economic Opportunities Through Education by 2015 (EcO15) initiative to link educational opportunities to careers in ten southeast Indiana counties.
Grants were awarded to the Community Education Coalition ($2.1 million) and the Heritage Fund - Community Foundation of Bartholomew County ($2.9 million) to continue their efforts to develop a network of integrated technology labs and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs at secondary and postsecondary institutions in the region.
Created in 2007 with $38 million in support from the endowment, EcO15 aims to create a regional learning system using project-based learning as its underpinning. More than forty middle schools, twenty-two high schools, and postsecondary education partners such as Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, Ivy Tech Community College, and Purdue University College of Technology are collaborating on the effort.
"The recruitment, enrollment, and successful completion of students into and through targeted STEM programs are vitally important to our region's current and future economy," said CEC chair Mark Gerstle. "Simply put, continuing and expanding the EcO15 initiatives to strengthen the regional learning system will encourage advanced manufacturing companies to view our region as the place to conduct their enterprise. We thank Lilly Endowment for its continuing support."