In an effort to increase the number of STEM professionals throughout the state, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has handed over a $4.6M grant to the California State University (CSU) system to accelerate degree completion.
STEM students—those who are majoring in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—are key to the future workforce: STEM occupations will grow 1.7 times more than non-STEM occupations from now until 2018, according to the Department of Commerce. This is why the CSU has pledged to help assist the Obama Administration’s “One Decade, One Million” goal which hopes to graduate one million STEM college graduates over the next ten years.
“Support from the Helmsley Charitable Trust is vital to the CSU’s development of high-touch programs that will expand the diversity and scope of the STEM workforce pipeline,” said Ephraim P. Smith, CSU Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer, in a statement. “Actively engaging first-generation STEM majors is the first step in creating professionals who solve the complex problems of today and transform the communities of tomorrow.”
The award will help fund the CSU STEM Collaboratives, a program which immerses students in STEM activities and courses the summer before they actually attend college and throughout their first year. The plan is two-fold: to get students who may have lacked in STEM education in high school more comfortable with the subjects and to help foster STEM interests among those from underrepresented backgrounds or first-time college attendees.
Extending to February of 2017, eight CSU campuses will integrate the summer/first-year program once they are chosen this upcoming fall.
Note: this article originally stated that the grant was worth $4.2M; it is worth $4.6M.