Math&Science Problem Solving Intervention for Rural Communities

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2012-00071
Agency Tracking Number: 2012-00071
Amount: $99,600.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2012
Solicitation Year: 2012
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.6
Solicitation Number: USDA-NIFA-SBIR-003497
Small Business Information
53 WEST 90TH ST STE4, New York, NY, 10024-1586
DUNS: 016369576
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Sarah Manning
 (212) 361-3706
Business Contact
 Sarah Manning
Title: President&CEO
Phone: (212) 361-3706
Research Institution
A technically literate workforce, capable of math and science problem solving, is essential in order to attract and maintain high-tech industry and manufacturing within rural counties. Math and science intervention in problem solving has been shown to facilitate peak performance and to engage students in math, science and technology for the longer term, however, access to the instructional materials that develop this type of mastery is limited for geographically and financially-isolated high need rural schools. An opportunity exists to offer high need rural students access to this research-based instructional material through a distance learning application that delivers problem solving intervention on-demand to students, and in doing so, to better prepare the next generation rural workforce for the type of technical problem solving that lies at the heart of agricultural innovation in manufacturing and innovation in renewable energy technologies. Todays rural leaders are well aware that sustainable development at the local level requires a technically proficient workforce and high achieving schools ? especially to attract the agriculturally-related manufacturing and alternative or renewable energy innovation contracts that are drivers in economic development for rural communities. The challenges to provide these key ingredients are complex at baseline, but for rural communities these challenges are magnified. Researchers have demonstrated that students in high need rural areas receive among the least exposure to advanced mathematical understanding and have lower levels of educational aspirations and math achievement than their non-rural counterparts. This situation has a long-lasting effect on an individuals future because performance and exposure to advanced mathematics have been shown to be strong indicators of the likelihood that students will pursue technical career paths. The lack of exposure and access to good math education from preK-12th grade severely limits a rural students educational aspirations and their ability to compete in the information economy. For rural communities, the additive effect of these constraints is debilitating. Employers today, particularly in manufacturing and alternative energy technologies, are attracted to rural areas that offer well-educated and technically-skilled labor. Counties that produce a low-skill labor force are finding that rapidly-changing production technologies and overseas competition severely limit the prospects for local employment growth and long term economic development. High tech cluster economic development initiatives will be looking for rural areas that have nurtured their math and science labor pool. Therefore, a rural countys ability to provide a high quality math education, specifically in the area of 21st century problem solving, has direct implications for the communitys future economic prosperity, including their ability to limit any outmigration trends and build a sustainable ecosystem. Programs that raise problem solving abilities in math and science are an essential part of any successful strategy to improve the economic well-being of rural America.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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