Secretary Gary Locke visited the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Science Center in Silver Spring, MD today, to highlight the importance of education in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields in enhancing the United States’ global competitiveness. He emphasized President Obama’s strategy of results-driven education investments, which will allow the U.S. to out-educate, out-innovate and out-build the rest of the world.
Locke participated in the NOAA Education Partnership Program ’s Annual Cooperative Science Center Directors meeting, where he heard a presentations by NOAA-sponsored undergraduate, Master’s and Ph.D. STEM students about their latest research and findings. He also held a roundtable discussion with the NOAA Science Center Directors and some of the NOAA Cooperative Institute Directors to exchange ideas about how to bolster STEM education programs for undergraduate and graduate students across the country. Graduates of these programs are the workforce of the future and will contribute to the recovery and growth of America’s economy.
The NOAA Education Partnership Program  supports five Cooperative Science Centers, housed in Minority Serving Institutions in Washington D.C., Maryland, New York, Florida, and North Carolina. These Cooperative Science Centers have awarded over 800 Bachelors, Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in the STEM fields in the last 10 years; over 600 of these graduates are from under-represented minorities.