(TNS) — School districts in Story and Boone counties are among ten schools and districts that earned a share of $250,000 in grants to develop science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs with local businesses in the state.

The grants come from STEM Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers (or STEM BEST), a state program within the Governor's STEM Advisory Council that helps schools run apprenticeship programs with businesses in the area looking for qualified staffers. STEM BEST is one of multiple initiatives the council is supporting to reach its goal of having more than 70 percent of the state's workforce holding some kind of post-secondary education or training by 2025. Eight other schools have joined the program since 2014.

Boone High School and the Story County Consortium, a group formed by all seven of the county's school districts, received $25,000 each in planning grants to help develop curriculum and train teachers.

Story County Consortium director John Kinley said the schools in his group intend to focus their curriculum on engineering, health care, biosciences and business information technology. He also has formed a group of student ambassadors to get feedback on how to get students without plans of pursuing training after high school interested in STEM fields.

Kinley said several local businesses have expressed interest in working with high school students so far, but declined to name any businesses due to ongoing discussions with other business owners.

"We've got a number of moving parts that are taking place at this point in time," he said.

©2016 the Ames Tribune, Iowa, distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.