OAKLAND - A program designed to prepare students for engineering careers has received $30,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

"We'll be using it for the purchase of computers and technical support," Wendell Teets, Garrett County schools superintendent, said. "This is primarily to work with the new engineering design and development course, but also support the other courses that we have."

Teets said the funds would be split between Northern and Southern high schools to support Project Lead the Way. Garrett County offers five courses as part of the program and Teets said they are very popular with students.

The funding was awarded to the Garrett County commissioners to be given to the board of education for the program.

Teets said the program, along with the robotics competitions that students from both high schools and middle schools participate in, has contributed to a growing interest in engineering in county students. He said it is an important career field to develop.

"Right now, our nation is in an amazing race, a race for discovery and new knowledge, a race to remain competitive and to foster an innovative society," U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski said. "At the heart of this race is education. This ARC grant is a federal investment in education for the young people of Western Maryland."

Project Lead the Way is not only in effect in Garrett County, but is a national education program that focuses on preparing students for careers and post-secondary education in the engineering fields. The program consists of a four-year sequence of courses that introduces students to engineering and engineering technology.

"Education is the cornerstone of the American dream, and training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is essential to high-paying, high-quality jobs that will drive the future of America's economy and development," U.S. Sen. Benjamin Cardin said. "This ARC grant will provide an important boost for Garrett County students as they prepare for a future in engineering and strive to achieve their American dream."

In addition to the funds from the ARC, a federal and state partnership, local sources will provide an additional $30,000 for the program.

Contact Sarah Moses at smoses@times-news.com.

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