ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Dec. 14, 2012) -- The U.S. Army is bolstering its commitment to science and math education in northeast Maryland to increase the number of students seeking high-tech careers.

Eight major Aberdeen Proving Ground, or APG, tenant organizations agreed to a partnership Dec. 14 with Harford County Public Schools, or HCPS, to expand educational outreach efforts in science, technology, engineering and math, commonly known as STEM.

The agreement will help increase participation and improve HCPS students' performance in STEM and programs that expand academic opportunities, officials said.

About 30 Army uniformed and civilian personnel and HCPS officials attended the ceremony at the headquarters of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command.

RDECOM Director Dale Ormond said the agreement will strengthen the existing relationships between APG and HCPS. RDECOM is the installation's lead organization for STEM education outreach.

"The partnership that we sign today between Aberdeen Proving Ground and Harford County Public Schools reaffirms our commitment to advancing STEM education in northeast Maryland and beyond," Ormond said. "We look forward to expanding our STEM outreach with Harford County students and educators. The goal of our agreement is to lead the way in the vital task of developing our future STEM workforce."

Participating APG organizations are RDECOM; Army Communications--Electronics Command; Army Test and Evaluation Command; Army Public Health Command; Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications Tactical; Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors; 20th Support Command (CBRNE); and Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense.

Louie Lopez, RDECOM STEM outreach program manager, said the partnership has three primary goals:

1) encourage and enhance study in STEM disciplines and provide laboratory and technical experiences that support the pursuit of STEM courses, collegiate STEM majors, and STEM careers
2) provide technical assistance to the school system
3) leverage regional STEM efforts that support students, government, industry and nonprofit organizations

Maj. Gen. Robert Ferrell, CECOM commanding general and senior APG commander, reiterated the installation's focus on developing America's future scientists and engineers.

"We are committed to tomorrow," Ferrell said. "We are providing an opportunity to ensure that we have the right resources with the right intellect and energy. This STEM initiative today is a tremendous step."

HCPS Superintendent Robert Tomback said that expanding the partnership with APG is vital to the success of Harford County students.

"The partnership agreement that we are about to sign is critical to our mission," Tomback said. "It's critical to our mission at Harford County Public Schools to provide you with the next generation of workforce -- those students who are motivated in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics."

"We are absolutely thrilled that you are willing, able and eager to support our school system in ways that are tangible, meaningful and productive," Tomback continued. "Thank you for your willingness and eagerness to work with our students as we prepare them for our nation for many years to come."