Kepware Technologies, a software development company focused on communications for automation, today announced that in an effort to promote STEM education and workforce development in Maine, it is accepting applications for its second annual school grant contest. The contest is open to any school, classroom, school club, or educational program located and operating in the state.
Kepware will accept applications until April 3, 2015. Applicants will be evaluated on a one-page essay detailing why the grant is needed and how it will be used to improve educational opportunities for Maine students. Up to three grant recipients will be selected. Winners will be announced on June 1, 2015 and receive the grants for use during the 2015-2016 school year.
"Developing a thriving, technical workforce starts long before one enters the job market," said Tony Paine, CEO, Kepware. "Students need to begin learning technical skills at an early age, and that starts with access to computers. Yet many schools and academic organizations in the state are lacking access to this critical resource. Companies like Kepware can help change that."
The program originated in 2014 following Paine's correspondence with Jessica Walling, a fourth grade teacher from the Farrington School in Augusta, Maine. Walling's students could only utilize a shared lab of equipment for one hour a week and sign out laptops as they were available. Concerned that such limited access would hinder the development of necessary skills, she contacted Paine to see if Kepware could help alleviate the technology gap. Ultimately, Kepware donated over $10,000 to the school to procure 25 laptops, and Paine decided to turn the program into an annual contest.
"Because of Kepware's donation, every fourth grade student at the Farrington School has access to a computer," said Walling. "Now our students have the tools they need to build the foundational technical skills that will help them succeed when they enter the competitive workforce."
The annual school grant contest is just one of several philanthropic initiatives driven by Kepware to promote STEM education and workforce development in Maine. Each year, its Summer Internship Program offers four full-time internships to students within the field of engineering, and in 2014, it donated over $30,000 in software to the University of Maine, Orono's Electrical Engineering Technology Program.