INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana University Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering at IUPUI will build on its work with industry partners to bring computing curriculum, co-curricular activities and additional teacher training into more Indianapolis schools.
A $2.6 million Explore, Engage and Experience grant from the Indiana Department of Education will support expansion of the innovative Informatics Diversity-Enhanced Workforce curriculum, known as iDEW, into middle and elementary schools. A collaboration between the Luddy School, TechServ and TechPoint Foundation for Youth, iDEW prepares underrepresented minority and economically disadvantaged high school students in Indiana for informatics and computing careers.
“Employment in informatics and IT is projected to grow 12 percent, the fastest among all occupations, and expected to add 488,500 new jobs by 2024,” said Mathew J. Palakal, senior executive associate dean of Luddy IUPUI and director of iDEW. “However, employers have identified a gap between this demand and the supply of young people prepared to enter the IT/STEM workforce, and Indiana is no exception. We and our partners have proven that with funding like this IDOE grant, we can successfully address the gap and will continue to do so.”
Many iDEW students earn professional IT certifications that prepare them for the workforce or for two- or four-year academic paths in informatics.
Palakal founded and has expanded the iDEW program to eight area high schools since 2015. To date, over 500 STEM teachers in Indiana have been trained on the iDEW curriculum. The program has served over 2,500 central Indiana high school students, many of whom have pursued a college degree — primarily in STEM programs — and/or entered the IT workforce.
The iDEW expansion also brings on additional partners, including the ROCK Community Center, Eastern Star Church and Techucate.
Speaking College, Agile Meridian and Techucate will provide programming for middle school students at the ROCK as part of STEM@ The ROCK. TechPoint Foundation for Youth will expand its VEX robotics outreach to both elementary and middle schools that are potential “feeders” to the iDEW high school classrooms.
The Explore, Engage and Experience grant period runs through September 2024. The grant is a part of the third round of federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funding.