Texas Regional STEM Degree Accelerator

Overview

The Texas Regional STEM Degree Accelerator initiative is focused on convening regional teams of education and workforce partners to expand the number of students with STEM credentials. The goal of this project is to ensure that 100,000 underrepresented students in Texas earn STEM degrees.  To accomplish this goal, Educate Texas is providing grants for regional teams to:

  1. Use real-time labor market data to identify regional STEM workforce needs.
  2. Collaboratively develop strategic plans that use research-based practices that are known to support and increase student performance in STEM academic and career pathways.
  3. 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.

To expand the number of students with STEM credentials, IHEs and their partners must work together to analyze data, introduce interventions that improve curricula, and provide support for students.  This project is designed to facilitate data-informed decision making that results in the use of existing practices based in research and evidence.

Planning Grants were provided to eight regional teams in spring 2015 and approximately 4-6 of these teams will be selected to begin implementation in fall 2015. Each team includes all of the following partners representing education (K-12, two-year, four-year) and workforce (investment boards and employers).

Alamo Colleges                                  South Texas College
Austin Community College                  Texarkana College
Dallas County Community College       University of Texas, El Paso
Lee College                                        Western Texas College

The Texas Regional STEM Degree is funded through the generosity of The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, The W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and Greater Texas Foundation and is developed in alignment with priorities for education and workforce outlined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Workforce Commission.

Project Background

Project Background

Over the past decade, our nation and state’s educational systems have been under tremendous pressure to increase the number of students who are prepared to meet our dynamic workforce demands.  Analysis suggests that 1 out of every 5 jobs in 2011 required a high level of knowledge in a STEM field.   According to national research, approximately 8.6 million jobs will exist in STEM fields across the U.S. by 2018.   In the coming years, we will need 1 million additional STEM graduates beyond current projections.   Half of the available STEM jobs require less than a four-year degree (i.e. middle skills careers), and pay an average of $53,000.

Texas is projected to have approximately 9% of the nation’s future STEM opportunities, the second highest in the country.  At the same time – according to research supported by the Houston Endowment and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board – the state’s rapidly changing demographic mix will pose challenges as Texas’s growing, economically disadvantaged, minority populations have less than a 10% postsecondary completion rate.  Therefore, the urgency to identify policy and programmatic strategies to meet this need is critical.  Local and state institutions play an integral role in developing solutions to help accelerate the number of our students who will graduate with postsecondary STEM credentials.

References

Rothwell, J. (2013). The Hidden STEM Economy. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution. http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports/2013/06/10-stem-economy-rothwell

Carnevale, A.P., Smith, N. & Strohl, J. (2010). Help Wanted. Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018. Washington, DC: Georgetwon University Center on Education and the Workforce. http://cew.georgetown.edu/jobs2018

President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (2012). Engage to Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates With Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. (Report to the President). Washington, DC: The White House http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/pcast-engage-to-excel-final_feb.pdf

Schleicher, A. (2012). Education At a Glance: OECD Indicators 2012. http://www.oecd.org/education/CN%20-%20United%20States.pdf

National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (2012). A new measure of educational success in Texas. Retrieved from http://www.houstonendowment.org/Assets/PublicWebsite/Documents/News/measureofsuccess.pdf

The Texas Tribune (2014). Higher Ed Outcomes. Austin, TX: The Texas Tribune http://www.texastribune.org/education/public-education/8th-grade-cohorts/state/texas/

Additional Questions?

For any questions about the project please contact Kelty Garbee by email at kgarbee@cftexas.org.