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TSC, regional partners awarded grant for STEM initiative

TSC LogoTexas is projected to have the second-highest percentage of the nation's future STEM job opportunities. However, an increasing number of disadvantaged minority students with less than a 10 percent post-secondary completion rate poses a challenge to educators around the state.

To help confront the pending challenge, a grant was awarded on Feb. 10 from Educate Texas to a consortium of regional partners for the Texas Regional Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Degree Accelerator initiative. Texas Southmost College (TSC) is a member of the consortium.

The STEM Accelerator initiative aims to address the projected growth of STEM jobs by strategically increasing the number of underrepresented students earning STEM degrees throughout the state.

"We're excited to be a part of the regional team that was awarded the STEM Accelerator grant," said TSC President Dr. Lily F. Tercero. "We have a great opportunity to help our students excel in the STEM fields and to take advantage of the STEM-related job opportunities that will be available to them in the near future."

Only five consortiums received the STEM Accelerator grant, which will be allocated over a three-year period to each regional team's fiscal agent.

The regional team identified nursing and computer sciences as the STEM pathways they plan to focus on. The consortium will use the $800,000 grant to work with faculty and workforce to redesign gateway courses in STEM majors to ensure alignment with workforce needs, and provide professional development for faculty to improve teaching and learning in the STEM fields.

"TSC recognizes the importance of the continued development of the STEM fields at all levels of education and is looking forward to collaborating with the consortium," TSC Vice President of Instruction Dr. Marti Flores said. "The regional team will develop and contribute innovative solutions to enhance instruction and learning in the STEM fields that will help increase retention and completion."

The regional partners include, TSC, South Texas College, University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, Texas A&M-Kingsville, Brownsville ISD, McAllen ISD, La Joya ISD, PSJA ISD, Mission ISD, Valley View ISD, Edinburg ISD, Region One Education Service Center, Workforce Solutions in Hidalgo and Cameron, RGV Focus, Rio Grande Regional Hospital and Infragard RGV Members Alliance.

STEM Accelerator is developed in alignment with priorities for education and workforce outlined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Workforce Commission. It is funded by the Helmsley Charitable Trust, Greater Texas Foundation, the Council for Regional Economic Expansion and Educational Development (CREEED), JPMorgan and Chase, the Kresge Foundation, and The W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation.

About Texas Southmost College
Originally established in 1926, Texas Southmost College offers the first two years toward a bachelor's degree, along with career and technical education, college preparatory studies to prepare students for college-level work, workforce training, and continuing education. Recently selected as a Bright Spot by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, TSC offers 53 programs of study leading to an associate degree or certificate.