FAQs

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Who

  1. Who governs the STEM Learning Exchanges?

    ​Each sector-based Learning Exchange is governed by a consortia of education, business and community partners with a specific entity serving as a fiscal agent to receive public investment. Learning Exchanges are required to have a state-approved strategic plan and have a state designation, but they operate as independent, voluntary public-private networks.​

  2. Who is eligible to be part of a STEM Learning Exchange consortium and how do I apply?

    Each Learning Exchange is to be made up of a diverse set of statewide education, business and community partners. Education partners include K-12 districts and schools, community colleges, universities, regional education offices, student organizations, and others. Business and workforce partners include employers and employer-led associations, labor organizations, local workforce innovation boards, and others. Community organizations include museums, federal laboratories and research centers, non-profit STEM organizations, and other community organizations that serve learners.​

  3. Who should I contact for more information on the Illinois Pathways Initiative?

    ​​To learn more about the State's STEM education efforts please use the Contact Us form.

Why

  1. Are the CIP codes based on 2000 or 2010 definitions?

    ​Currently, the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) is based upon 2000 definitions. They will be updated soon based upon the 2000 to 2010 crosswalk.

  2. How are STEM Learning Exchanges funded?

    ​​Each STEM Learning Exchange will receive either a planning or implementation grant that will require an equal matching contribution on behalf of the consortia. The match can be both cash as well as in-kind contributions. The purpose of the match is to reflect that each Exchange is a public-private partnership that is supported by a broad and diverse membership.

  3. Is Illinois a Race to the Top State and what are local district requirements for supporting P-20 STEM Programs of Study?

    ​Yes, Illinois has received a Round 3 Race to the Top Award of just under $43 million. Half of the funds will be administered directly by local participating school districts, which are required to implement two or more P-20 STEM Programs of Study. The remaining funds will be administered by the State of Illinois and a portion will be used to support planning and implementation grants for the STEM Learning Exchanges.

  4. What is the relationship between the Illinois Pathways Initiative and the Common Core State Standards?

    ​​Both the Common Core State Standards and the Illinois Pathways Initiative support the preparation of students for college and careers. The Common Core State Standards as they continue to be developed, reviewed and implemented, will be embedded as part of the P-20 STEM Program of Study courses. Illinois Pathways provides learners with the ability to not only develop mastery of learning standards, but to also pursue a personalized academic and career plan with opportunities to engage in work-based learning and attain credentials.

  5. Why should a business become a member of a STEM Learning Exchange?

    ​No one business can change education, but by working in a statewide public-private partnership their investments can be transformational. Business and industry partners benefit by increasing alignment of existing initiatives while promoting their brand; reducing the transaction cost in connecting with education partners; co-partnering with education around developing talent pipelines; and accessing data to review the return on investment and talent supply chain performance.

  6. Why should an education partner become a member of a STEM Learning Exchange?

    ​​Education partners do not success as islands, but improve by participating in public-private networks that promote collaboration and the sharing of resources. Education partners benefit by increasing access to curricular and instructional supports; reducing the transaction cost in accessing professional learning communities; improving college and career guidance; and accessing data for continuous improvement.

  7. Will participating districts be tracking students into careers?

    ​No, the Illinois Pathways Initiative is about empowering student choice and exploration based on their personal academic and career interests and goals. P-20 STEM Programs of Study are designed to provide learners a broad orientation to a career cluster before selecting specific career pathways. In addition, by organizing around career clusters, learners can develop skills and knowledge that cut across multiple career cluster areas and expand their career interests and options (e.g. engineering is a shared pathway across manufacturing; Transportation, Distribution & Logistics; Research & Development; etc...).