ASHLAND, Ky., September 27, 2019 – Kentucky Power on Friday delivered the fifth and final installment of an $815,000 multi-year grant that is funding efforts to boost science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in Lawrence County Schools.
The American Electric Power (AEP) Foundation Credits Count Grant, announced in 2015, is being funded over five years in partnership with Ashland Community and Technical College (ACTC). Since the first installment, ACTC has worked with Lawrence County Schools to expand STEM offerings and dual credit options. About 2,500 students stand to benefit from the grant. The project is designed to reach students as early as middle school to nurture their interests in STEM careers. As they advance, Credits Count helps them earn college credits or career certifications by the time they finish high school. Friday’s grant installment totaled $185,257 and was presented during a Day of STEM Exploration with middle school students in collaboration with the Kentucky Science Center. Kentucky Power engineers also facilitated an electricity workshop for students during the event.
“The AEP Foundation Credits Count Grant has provided funding for numerous STEM opportunities to our students, including online programs, classroom equipment/programs, and dual credit classes,” Lawrence Co. Supt. Robbie Fletcher said. “American Electric Power is a valuable community partner for LC Schools. We sincerely appreciate their continued support.”
“Kentucky Power and the AEP Foundation support improving lives through education,” said Kentucky Power President Brett Mattison. “By helping students earn college credit and career skills while still in high school, this grant is a major investment in our children, our communities and the future of eastern Kentucky.”
The Credit Counts grant provides for: middle school STEM experiences to engage students as early as possible in college exploration for STEM-related careers; college course readiness assessments to identify gaps in writing, math and reading that may need tutoring support; a summer bridge program to provide any needed English and math remediation prior to students entering the dual enrollment program; and dual enrollment in high school and at Ashland Community and Technical College.
Mia Brown, ACTC’s project director for Credits Count, said efforts to raise interest and awareness in STEM careers and technologies is leading to significant student gains.
“Data show that after learning about more than 100 new careers and technologies in STEM, student interest in STEM has risen 33 percent, while student disinterest in STEM has decreased 22 percent,” Brown said. “We have created a successful STEM model that connects middle school STEM exploration to college readiness preparation and early college opportunities. It is an exciting time for Credits Count students.”
Many of the 230 middle school students participating in STEM day said the hands-on activities were a fun way to learn.
The AEP Foundation is funded by AEP and its utility operating units, including Kentucky Power. The Foundation focuses on improving lives through education in science, technology, engineering, math and the environment and by meeting basic needs for emergency shelter, affordable housing and the elimination of hunger. Kentucky Power, based in Ashland, serves about 165,000 customers in 20 eastern Kentucky counties.