RSVD STEAM Academy Roundtable PanelistsThe director of the IUP Institute for Cybersecurity, Waleed Farag, was recently invited to attend a panel discussion hosted by the newly opened River Valley STEAM Academy to discuss how government, industry, and educators can work together to address the skilled worker shortage in STEM fields. 

Other presenters included Pennsylvania Labor and Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier, Pennsylvania College of Technology President Michael Reed, Indiana Chamber of Commerce President Mark Hilliard, Boilermakers Local 154 executive board trustee Shawn Steffee, Beth Carr from Beable World of Work, State Senator Joe Pittman, and State Representative Jim Struzzi.

Secretary Berrier told the Indiana Gazette, "Investment in Pennsylvania's workforce is so important to our collective future. I applaud the River Valley School District for giving students the opportunity to explore careers and build job skills that are immediately relevant to the workforce needs of today and tomorrow. Pennsylvania as a whole will benefit from the innovative education offered at River Valley’s STEAM Academy."

Farag has closely collaborated with several school districts in the region, including the River Valley School District on many federally funded grants, including IUP GenCyber and, most recently, the Pennsylvania community college consortium cooperative agreement, PC4A.  

The panel discussion focused on exploring ways for students to learn about career opportunities, apprenticeships, and other possible strategies to help expand the skilled workforce. Farag said, “The initiative that the River Valley School District took by introducing the STEAM Academy is crucial to filling the known shortage in qualified workers in high-demand areas such as cybersecurity and STEM fields.”