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WTC Announced As Grantee For Texas Regional STEM Degree Initiative

03/16/15, 08:36:32 AM

Educate Texas recently announced Western Texas College as a grantee for the Texas Regional Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Degree Accelerator initiative.

Launched in January of 2015, the purpose of the Texas Regional STEM Degree Accelerator (TRSDA) initiative is to strategically increase the number of underrepresented students earning STEM degrees that meet identified workforce needs in various regions across the state of Texas.

Texas is projected to have approximately 9% of the nation’s future STEM opportunities, the second highest in the country. To address this need, Educate Texas is launching TRSDA. The goal of this initiative is to impact up to 100,000 underrepresented students in Texas.

In order to increase the number of students who graduate from college with STEM credentials, regional and local collaboration are critical. Educate Texas is providing planning grants to eight regional teams led by a public institution of higher education (IHE). Each team must include: a two-year college, a four-year college, a K-12 partner, and workforce partners. Regional teams will receive technical assistance and support from the RAND Corporation, Jobs for the Future, and Burning Glass Technologies.

Western Texas College was announced as a grant recipient to lead a regional team.

During the planning period, each team will analyze labor market data; develop strategic plans to increase student performance in STEM academic pathways; and increase the number of underrepresented students in each region who graduate with postsecondary STEM credentials (including two-year, four-year, or technical degrees and/or workforce certificates) that meet identified workforce needs. This spring, planning grantees will have an opportunity to compete for funding to implement their strategic plans in September 2015.

“Educate Texas would like to thank all of the philanthropic support that has gone into making this Regional STEM Degree Accelerator initiative possible,” said Executive Director John Fitzpatrick. “We look forward to seeing the impact that these regional teams will have among the 100,000 underrepresented students throughout the state of Texas.”

"Texas is a critical state for STEM job growth in the coming decade,” said Ryan Kelsey, Program Officer of the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Education Program. “Along with our funding partners, the Trust is excited to see local collaborators working hard to better align STEM undergraduate programs with regional industry needs."

"To achieve economic growth and prosperity, Texas must significantly increase the number of STEM field graduates, and provide a focused effort on economically disadvantaged students," said Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes. “The STEM Accelerator initiative can be a useful approach in achieving this goal.”

“Texas’ employers continue to create jobs that require a STEM educated workforce for success,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar. “Strong partnerships advance efforts to expand Texas’ STEM educated workforce and provide the skills needed by Texas employers.”