Middle-schoolers in Pitt County, Beaufort County, and Edgecombe County are the newest beneficiaries of the Golden LEAF grant.

The non-profit is giving $1.25 million to schools to invest in programs that will expose middle school students to concepts in the STEM fields-- science, technology, engineering and math.

The program will include support from PCC, ECU, Pitt County Schools, Beaufort County Schools, Northeast Carolina Prep School in Edgecombe County and various private sector partners.

This program will bring new labs to schools, invest in professional development for teachers, and contribute to giving students hands-on experience. Students will be able to choose from training modules such as sustainable agriculture, robotics, biotechnology and 3D printing.

Three Pitt County middle schools will have new labs in the fall. E.B. Aycock, Ayden Middle School and C.M. Epps Middle School will be among the first to adopt the new elective program.

Golden LEAF is a non-profit organization that distributes funds to contribute to economic development to tobacco-dependent regions of the state.