Efforts encouraging students and displaced workers to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math got a boost Thursday from New York State, as part of awards totaling nearly $1 million for Long Island.
The year-old Long Island STEM Hub secured $320,000 for staff salaries, marketing and expansion of its website. The initiative seeks to provide technology workers for local companies.
The Hub has offices at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton and at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City.
The Hub has identified more than 850 programs in Nassau and Suffolk counties that focus on science, technology, engineering and math, together referred to as STEM. It also has worked with public schools, colleges, hospitals and businesses.
More than 15 local students have secured internships so far because of the initiative.
"The goal is to increase the number of Long Island residents with these STEM skills," said Andrea Lohneiss, regional director of Empire State Development Corp., which awarded the grant. "Through a website, listemhub.org, residents can find out about the resources out there; they also can visit the two hub centers."
She added that growing the Island's economy depends on workers with technical skills and keeping young people here.
The Hub is the first of several job-training programs, endorsed by the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council, to receive state funding.
The Brookhaven lab and the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, as "co-stewards of the Hub," will use the grant "to collaborate with many Long Island business and academic leaders to take a more cohesive approach toward STEM education," said Ken White, educational programs manager at the lab.
Empire State Development's board of directors Thursday also approved $650,000 for rehabilitation of a rail spur at the Calverton Enterprise Park on the East End.
The rail spur, once used to transport aircraft parts to an old Grumman Corp. factory, is a key component to the industrial park.
One tenant, Eastman Wholesale Fence Co., brings materials in via rail rather than truck, a state official said.
The $5.7 million project also includes $4.8 million in federal stimulus funds.