Jul 7th, 2010 @ 4:54 pm | Author:
NEWS RELEASE: Byron Dorgan, United States Senator
Wednesday, July 7, 2010

CONTACT: Barry Piatt or Jennifer Bronson
PHONE: 202-224-2551

Senator helped fund innovative project to incorporate Valley City students into Research Corridor growth.

(VALLEY CITY, N.D.) – A new education program that U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D) helped to fund will create training opportunities at Valley City State University, educating a future workforce in the Red River Valley Research Corridor.

The Senator was in Valley City today where he received a briefing and tour from VCSU officials about the new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education Center. Teachers will soon be trained in STEM curricula at VCSU in order to educate students around the region about the latest technology.

Dorgan, a senior member of the Senate's Appropriations Committee, secured more than $1.13 million to support the Great Plains STEM Education Center at VCSU. The federal funding is being used to establish and staff the program.

"The purpose of the VCSU STEM Center is to bolster cutting-edge technology education and training for teachers to use in the classroom," Dorgan said. "The initiative will help grow our area's ability to supply a workforce for the increasing number of high-tech jobs available in the Red River Valley Research Corridor and beyond."

Additionally, the VCSU center will support extracurricular activities to further raise awareness of U.S. FIRST Robotics involvement. FIRST helps students age 6 through 18 build robots to compete in a series of national events aimed at improving STEM education. North Dakota FIRST students participated in last year's Red River Valley Research Corridor Milestones and Horizons Conference.

"Establishing the Great Plains STEM Education Center at Valley City State University is a significant step in creating STEM-based curriculum and teaching methods in North Dakota and the region beyond," said Dr. Steve Shirley, President of VCSU. "The emergence of this hands-on approach to K-12 science, technology, engineering, and math education is imperative to our society's competitiveness in a global environment. We look forward to new opportunities that will benefit in-service teachers as well as our future teacher education graduates. VCSU is grateful to Senator Dorgan for his recognition of the critical needs in this area, and we appreciate his support as we move ahead with the educational efforts in the Great Plains STEM Education Center."