PASADENA, Texas — The U.S. Department of Education has awarded a $4.6 million, five-year grant to San Jacinto College for Hispano STEM: El Camino al Exito, a project designed to address the needs of Hispanic and low-income students.
The goal of the project is to increase interest in STEM among Hispanic and low-income students and potentially grow the number of students in these groups who enroll in and complete STEM programs at the collegiate level. This will be achieved through producing targeted outreach for primary school students and their families to ignite interest in STEM programs, designing dynamic learning experiences that engage learners while at San Jac, and collaborating with local employers to create opportunities for incumbent and future workers.
"Many of the students who will benefit from this grant are first-generation college students and will navigate higher education processes and systems for the first time, in particular the demands of financing their education," said Dr. Alexander Okwonna, provost of San Jacinto College's North Campus. "The goal is to help students enroll in high-quality, affordable classes and persist in college to attain a degree."
El Camino al Exito students will have access to 11 computer and information technology and six engineering certificates, six computer and information technology and two engineering Associate of Applied Science programs, and five Associate of Science degree choices: computer science, engineering, life sciences, mathematics, and physical sciences.
The project is funded from October 2021 through September 2026. Anticipated results from the project include seeing a 5% enrollment increase among Hispanic and low-income students, a nearly 40% increase in the three-year graduation rate for the group and a 100% increase in target STEM students transferring to a four-year institution.
Houston is one of the top 35 cities nationwide for STEM jobs, according to a WalletHub.com market study. WalletHub compared the 100 largest metro areas across 20 key metrics to determine the best markets for STEM professionals, including per-capita job openings for STEM graduates to annual median wage growth for STEM jobs to projected demand for STEM workers by 2020.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, evolving industries, maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has served the people of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. San Jacinto College is among the top five community colleges in the nation as designated by the Aspen Institute for Community College Excellence, and was named an Achieving the Dream Leader College of Distinction in 2020. The College spans five campuses serving approximately 45,000 credit and non-credit students annually, and offers more than 200 degrees and certificates across eight major areas of study that put students on a path to transfer to four-year institutions or enter the workforce. San Jacinto College's impact on the region totals $1.3 billion in added income, which supports 13,044 jobs. The College is fiscally sound, holding bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor's and Moody's.