Congressman Altmire: PA Cyber STEM Epicenter to Train Youth for Tech Jobs of the Future

Apr 02, 2012, 16:30 ET from PA Cyber Charter School

PITTSBURGH, April 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Congressman Jason Altmire (D-4th) told technology industry representatives that the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School's planned STEM Epicenter program would train a new generation of young scientists and engineers for the Pittsburgh region, and provide a model for the state and the nation.

"PA Cyber is doing tremendous work in this field," Altmire said at a meeting hosted by Bayer Corporation at its U.S. headquarters in Pittsburgh. "Instead of training them for the jobs of the past, we want to keep our young people here by giving them the skills they will need in the future."

The recent meeting was the first in a series of private sessions to inform regional technology-oriented companies and higher education partners about PA Cyber's initiative for STEM education (science, technology, engineering, math/medicine). PA Cyber seeks involvement of universities and corporations to help design a hands-on STEM facility and curriculum that will guide young people toward careers in science and technology.

Dr. Nick Trombetta, PA Cyber CEO, said, "This is the right place, this is the right time and we are the right school to immerse young people in project-based STEM education. This kind of training can't wait for college. If they have a passion for math and science, we need to engage them as teenagers and adolescents."

The Pittsburgh region is particularly rich in tech-oriented universities and industries, Dr. Trombetta said, with Pennsylvania alone needing to fill an estimated 300,000 STEM-related jobs over the next six years.

Founded and based in western Pennsylvania, PA Cyber intends to use its experienced online workforce to create a hybrid STEM educational model that potentially can benefit all Pennsylvania schoolchildren and be adapted throughout the nation, said Dr. Trombetta. PA Cyber's STEM program will require approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

The PA Cyber STEM Epicenter will be different from other STEM education initiatives because it will operate on-site, off-site and online. Working in both actual and virtual labs, students will interact with working scientists and top academics.

"Students will learn to collaborate at a distance to solve complex problems. That's the way the world works now," said Dr. Trombetta.

A site north of Pittsburgh on Route 228 in Adams Township, Butler County, has been proposed for the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School's STEM center, dubbed the Epicenter. The site is one mile from the headquarters of Westinghouse Corporation.

In a recent presentation to the PA Cyber Board of Directors, architects JC Pierce LLC proposed a modular high-tech aesthetic design for the STEM Epicenter, with a phased construction schedule. The building's architectural and engineering systems would be exposed for instructional purposes. Green and zero-energy features such as rainwater harvesting and wind turbines would be incorporated.

With an emphasis on "learn by doing," the STEM Epicenter is to have laboratories and classrooms for an initial 600 on-site students, with remote communication and technology interface systems at off-site locations around the state, and online STEM connections and curriculum benefiting all 11,000 PA Cyber students.

"American schools have been challenged as a matter of national security to make math and science education more exciting, relevant and effective," said Dr. Trombetta. "As a pioneer in K-12 online education, PA Cyber is uniquely positioned to take on that challenge."

Contact Fred Miller, 724.777.5918,

SOURCE PA Cyber Charter School