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Chautauqua County Education Coalition awards grant

OBSERVER Photo by Damian Sebouhian. Members of the grant review committee and grant recipients at the SUNY Fredonia Science Center. From left to right: Todd Tranum (Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce); Tiffany Yerico (Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation); Adam Puleo (Chautauqua County Health Network); Justin Hanft (CCEC); Al Wager (National Grid); Nelson Garifi (JCC); Marylin Zagora (JCC); and Lisa Sunday (United Way of Chautauqua County).

Round Two of the National Grid STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) grant was announced during the Chautauqua County Education Coalition’s recent group meeting at the State University of New York at Fredonia Science Center.

The $66,000 grant will be divided between various area educational organizations, including Jamestown Community College, Chautauqua Institution and Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES.

The final third of the total $66,000 will be doled out next year, according to CCEC Director Justin Hanft.

“We’ll have one more round of funding available this time next year,” said Hanft. “Applications will be released in late spring and announcements will be made in July 2018.”

“Many thanks to the STEM grant review committee, a group of volunteers that met frequently to review these applications that were very well done,” added Hanft. “And we look forward to seeing the outcomes of directing these resources, much of it going to the Dunkirk and Fredonia area and STEM programming.”

STEM grants are used to “encourage kids anywhere from grade school to high school to take a greater interest in STEM-related programs,” said National Grid representative Albert Wager.

“This money is intended to plug some of those funding gaps that support STEM-related programs,” he stated. “Kids entering STEM programs can later go into local manufacturing, for instance. All local businesses are going to need that skilled workforce. It would be great to be able to fill their hiring needs with local young people.

“I’m really lucky to work for a company that knows a good investment when it sees it. Investing in the kids in this county is a great investment for the future.”

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