Preparing Students for the Global Economy

11/23/2014  | 

The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) will grow 17 percent by 2018—nearly double the growth for non-STEM fields. By 2018, the U.S. will have more than 1.2 million unfilled STEM jobs because there will not be enough qualified workers to fill them. STEM is where jobs are today and where the job growth will be in the future.

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is the nation’s leading provider of K-12 STEM programs, providing programs to more than 6,500 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. PLTW schools can be found in rural, urban, and suburban districts, across all income levels in public, private, and charter schools.

Historically, science and math have been taught in isolation. The project-based aspects of the Project Lead The Way curriculum give students a chance to apply what they know, identify a problem, find unique solutions, and lead their own learning. When students understand how their education is relevant to their lives and future careers, they get excited, and that is why PLTW students are successful.

PLTW programs are developed using the following approach and guiding tenets:

  • Collaboration: Ongoing input and feedback are received from students, teachers, administrators, and subject matter experts. Work is also informed by current research and experts in academics and industry.
  • Research/Evidence-Based: PLTW follows Wiggins and McTighe’s approach, Understanding by Design® to develop a cohesive and coherent instructional path for students.
  • Problem-Based: Activity-based, project-based, problem-based experiences are designed to prepare students to solve problems. This approach creates scaffolding for student learning and provides the rigor and relevance that engages and empowers students.

PLTW courses are aligned with Common Core State Standards in math and English Language Arts, Next Generation Science Standards, and other national and state standards. Programs are flexible and customizable so schools can meet local curricular and community needs. Courses are designed to complement math and science courses offered by a school. In some instances, courses are used as the core curriculum.

Independent research studies reveal that PLTW students outperform their peers in school, are better prepared for post-secondary studies, and are more likely to consider careers as scientists, technology experts, engineers, mathematicians, healthcare providers, and researchers compared to their non-PLTW peers.

Findings include:

  • High school graduates who participated in PLTW were nearly three times as likely to major in STEM, and three to four times more likely to study engineering, versus non-PLTW graduates.
  • Students who took three or more PLTW courses while in high school were six times more likely to study STEM, and eight times more likely to study engineering in college than their peers who had not taken PLTW.
  • For students who did not enroll in college, the median wage for PLTW students was 13.6% higher

To view these findings and other helpful statistics,visit


or call 800-378-1571.

When students understand how education is relevant to their lives and future careers, they get excited. Invoking excitement is what PLTW does on a regular basis, and it’s the reason PLTW students are successful.

To learn more about Project Lead The Way, or to register online, visit
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