The Public Education Forum of Mississippi (PEF) received a $50,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation through the State Giving Program to support Mississippi Scholars and Mississippi Scholars Tech Master. The grant will expand and build both programs. Mississippi Scholars has grown from 2 pilot school districts and 24 graduates in 2004 to 91 school districts and more than 27,300 graduates in 2014. The Mississippi Scholars Tech Master program started in 2014 with 7 pilot counties and recognized 285 graduates with the Mississippi Scholars Tech Master designation and award. Currently, 47 counties and 71 school districts are enrolled in the program.
The Mississippi Scholars program encourage and reward students for taking the Mississippi Scholars Course of Study – STEM curriculum. The Mississippi Scholars Tech Master program was created by some of the top business leaders in the state along with the Mississippi Department of Education to improve the state workforce readiness. The Tech Master program provides specific standards for a TECH-PREP course of study. Mississippi has evolved from a low-skill, low-wage job state to what is more commonly known as a middle-skill economy with well-paying jobs. These jobs require effective communication skills, solid basic math skills and the ability to think creatively and carry out multiple tasks in a progressive manner.