Indiana afterschool programs are receiving a boost with the help of a $1 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, which will be used to create an online training program for Hoosier youth workers and expand Science, Technology, Engineering and Math initiatives.
The Indiana Afterschool Network (IAN) will use the grant to create the Indiana Academy on Out of School Learning. It will provide online professional training for afterschool and summer program providers. IAN President Debbie Zipes says the Lilly grant will give youth workers the opportunity to take part in the training at a discounted rate.
“So programs can go online and they can find modules and all sorts of different best-practice topics that are developed nationally,” Zipes says.
Zipes says the funding also will allow IAN to strengthen Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, programs that it already promotes. She says afterschool programs can reinforce classroom learning in STEM areas, which are becoming increasingly important in today’s job market.
“Preparing kids with those kinds of skills is really key, both for the future of our economy in Indiana and to position kids for careers,” Zipes says.
A report released by IAN in October says Hoosier students trail their peers nationally when it comes to afterschool program participation. 11 percent of Indiana K-12 students participate in afterschool programs, compared to 18 percent nationally.