Challenger Learning Center for Tech Valley

Innovative Resources Group was retained by the Challenger Board to advise on the campaign and to bring the Center to the Schenectady Museum. Innovative Resources recommended taking a new approach by repositioning Challenger on the lines of a business model, rather than depending on campaign success for individual, corporate and civic contributions.

The new direction would position Challenger similar to a technological company start-up that would procure loans to be paid back, with proof of sustainable operating funds. To devise the new approach, Challenger and Innovative Resources Group have talked to a number of start-ups in the region, which is fast becoming known as Tech Valley.

The Challenger Learning Center for Tech Valley, a $1.5 million state-of-the-art Center with NASA-type equipment and space technology, will be located in the Schenectady Museum. The core of the Center’s programs is teaching science curriculum, problem-solving and teamwork to middle-school students during over 300 simulated space missions a year.

In its broadest role, Challenger will act as a catalyst for career pathways in science, math and engineering to help develop the future workforce of New York State’s Tech Valley.

The focal point of the Center is the simulator – modules resembling the appearance of NASA’s Mission Control operation in Houston and the interior of a Space Station.

The Center will initially serve 10,000 middle school students, drawing from the 93 school districts in the 19-county Capital Region, and 35,000 students from 77 districts in the surrounding counties, including the Mid-Hudson Valley, the North Country all the way to the Canadian border, and Western Massachusetts.  Challenger is one of a network of similar Space Education Centers throughout the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.