College partnership seeks to fill STEM hole in Texas labor force

Austin Business Journal: College partnership seeks to fill STEM hole in Texas labor force

Texas A&M University is using a $5 million donation from Chevron Corp. to establish five engineering academies statewide, including one locally withAustin Community College, in order to meet the growing demand for graduates trained in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

As part of the Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy at ACC, students would complete their first two years of courses at the community college, then finish their degrees at A&M’s flagship campus in College Station.

ACC is a regular partner with companies and other Texas schools as it seeks to churn out more high-skilled graduates: it is boosting enrollment, building more wet lab space and courting major cloud-computing company Rackspace Hosting Inc. to move into the mixed-use development it has on the site of the former Highland Mall.

STEM education is in high demand in industries from technology to health care, from manufacturing to energy. In announcing the new academy, A&M and ACC highlighted a 2012 report from the the President’s Advisory Council on Science and Technology that estimated a million more graduates with STEM degrees will be needed in the next decade to fill jobs.

The other A&M-Chevron Engineering Academies will be in Spring Branch in the Houston area (working with Houston Community College), Brownsville (Texas Southmost College), Dallas (El Centro College) and San Antonio (Alamo Colleges).

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