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Jacobs provides funding boost to build Cradle Beach Stem Center

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Fri, Oct 6th 2017 06:55 pm
Pictured, from left: Cradle Beach capital campaign chairman James Tilley, New York State Sen. Chris Jacobs, Cradle Beach CEO Ann-Marie Orlowski and University at Buffalo Distinguished Professor Dr. Joseph Gardella.
Pictured, from left: Cradle Beach capital campaign chairman James Tilley, New York State Sen. Chris Jacobs, Cradle Beach CEO Ann-Marie Orlowski and University at Buffalo Distinguished Professor Dr. Joseph Gardella.
$500,000 in state funding to cover major portion of newly constructed facility
New York State Sen. Chris Jacobs announced a major funding award of $500,000 to support the construction of a new science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education center at Cradle Beach Camp. The Western New York STEM Center for Youth will become a year-round destination for school groups and youth agencies seeking to provide hands-on experiential learning. The estimated cost of the project is slightly under $1 million.
"I am very pleased to have been able to secure such a significant portion of the overall funding for this great project," Jacobs said. "In our increasingly technology-based world, STEM education is vital to our children's future and the economic viability of our region. This new center is a tremendous step forward in enhancing the STEM learning process, and making it far more appealing and interesting to students."
Jacobs made the announcement at the site of the future building. In addition to Cradle Beach executives, representatives from the University at Buffalo's Interdisciplinary Science & Engineering Partnership (ISEP), Buffalo State College and the Buffalo Museum of Science attended the press conference. The groups are important collaborators with Cradle Beach on current STEM programming, and the new center will allow all the parties to augment their existing relationships.
"The Western New York STEM Center for Youth will provide a vital asset to our community and region, allowing us to expand strategic collaborations between formal STEM educators and STEM-centric organizations," said Ann-Marie Orlowski, Cradle Beach CEO. "The center will enhance opportunities for women, minorities and K-12 students who may otherwise rule out STEM careers early in their education. Bringing experiential-based STEM instruction to life will have a tremendous impact on thousands of children for decades to come."
The senator's camp said an urgent need exists to produce more STEM graduates to meet future workforce needs to maintain this region's competitiveness. STEM occupations in the U.S. are growing at 17 percent, reaffirming these careers and skillsets will continue to be major drivers of economic revitalization.
Jacobs said the new facility's experiential programming will have a significant impact in creating greater interest among young students that will eventually lead to more STEM graduates in the future.
"ISEP partners have helped define an informal, out-of-classroom STEM education initiative that takes advantage of the amazing location of Cradle Beach," said Dr. Joseph Gardella, SUNY Distinguished Professor and director of ISEP. "The plan to build a very unique STEM education center will clearly benefit children with disabilities and children with disadvantages served by Cradle Beach, but it also will become a year-round facility for all WNY school districts to utilize."
Jacobs has been a long-time advocate for increasing educational opportunities for children in need. In 1995, he founded the BISON Scholarship Fund, and served for many years on the Buffalo School Board.
"The new Western New York STEM Center for Youth is a tremendous project to invest in," he said. "It incorporates Cradle Beach's mission of serving underprivileged and disabled students while addressing a critical need in the education of our children."

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