Press Release: Educate Texas Announces Grantees for 
Texas Regional STEM Degree Accelerator Initiative

Published feb. 19, 2015

Jobs for the Future to provide technical assistance and support to regional teams for STEM initiative

Press Contact for Texas Regional STEM Degree Accelerator Initiative: Isaac K. Ricard, (214) 750-4103,

Dallas, TX–Educate Texas is pleased to announce grantees for the Texas Regional Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Degree Accelerator initiative that launch in late January 2015.

The purpose of the Texas Regional STEM Degree Accelerator (TRSDA) initiative is to strategically increase the number of underrepresented students earning STEM degrees that meet identified workforce needs in various regions across the state of Texas. 

Texas is projected to have approximately 9% of the nation’s future STEM opportunities, the second highest in the country.[i]  To address this need, Educate Texas is launching TRSDA. The goal of this initiative is to impact up to 100,000 underrepresented students in Texas. 

In order to increase the number of students who graduate from college with STEM credentials, regional and local collaboration are critical. Educate Texas is providing planning grants to eight regional teams led by a public institution of higher education (IHE). Each team must include: a two-year college, a four-year college, a K-12 partner, and workforce partners.  Regional teams will receive technical assistance and support from the RAND Corporation, Jobs for the Future, and Burning Glass Technologies.  Grant recipients who will lead regional teams include:

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

During the planning period, each team will analyze labor market data; develop strategic plans to increase student performance in STEM academic pathways; and 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.  This spring, planning grantees will have an opportunity to compete for funding to implement their strategic plans in September 2015.

“Educate Texas would like to thank all of the philanthropic support that has gone into making this Regional STEM Degree Accelerator initiative possible,” said Executive Director John Fitzpatrick. “We look forward to seeing the impact that these regional teams will have among the 100,000 underrepresented students throughout the state of Texas.”

"Texas is a critical state for STEM job growth in the coming decade,” said Ryan Kelsey, Program Officer of the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Education Program. “Along with our funding partners, the Trust is excited to see local collaborators working hard to better align STEM undergraduate programs with regional industry needs."

"To achieve economic growth and prosperity, Texas must significantly increase the number of STEM field graduates, and provide a focused effort on economically disadvantaged students," said Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes. “The STEM Accelerator initiative can be a useful approach in achieving this goal.”

“Texas’ employers continue to create jobs that require a STEM educated workforce for success,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar. “Strong partnerships advance efforts to expand Texas’ STEM educated workforce and provide the skills needed by Texas employers.”

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

About Educate Texas

Launched in 2004, Educate Texas, a public-private initiative of Communities Foundation of Texas, is dedicated to ensuring Texas students are prepared to graduate high school ready for college and career success.  We achieve this goal by partnering with school districts, institutions of higher education, business, and philanthropy to implement practices that support postsecondary readiness, access and success for all students.  

Educate Texas’ public-private partners include: the Governor's Office, Texas Education Agency, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Texas Legislature, Communities Foundation of Texas, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Ford Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Greater Texas Foundation, Houston Endowment, Lumina Foundation, The Meadows Foundation, and Texas Instruments Foundation.  For more information, please visit:

About the Partners

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits in health, place-based initiatives, and education and human services. Since 2008, when the Trust began its active grantmaking, it has committed more than $1 billion to a wide range of charitable organizations. The Trust's Education Program seeks to advance American economic competitiveness as well as individual social mobility. In K-12, the Trust focuses on ensuring all students graduate high school prepared for college or careers by supporting teacher effectiveness and the adoption and implementation of high academic standards. In higher education, the goal of the Trust’s grantmaking is to increase the number and diversity of college graduates in STEM fields by improving persistence to graduation. For more information, visit

The W. W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation is housed at CFT and is the largest single fund in the organization’s portfolio. CFT trustees serve as the management trustees for the Caruth Foundation and work with CFT staff to direct its grantmaking. Throughout the last 20 years, the Caruth Foundation has awarded more than $100 million in grants, which can be seen on the Past Grants tab below.

The Council for Regional Economic Expansion and Educational Development, also known as CREEED, is a 501(c)(6) organization focused on increasing the number of El Paso high school graduates who are prepared for and graduate college.

A statewide grantmaker based in Bryan, Texas, Greater Texas Foundation (GTF) supports efforts to ensure all Texas students are prepared for, have access to, persist in, and complete a postsecondary education. As a result of its work, GTF will help create greater connections among regional systems that support the ability of all students to succeed. By focusing on issues of statewide importance, GTF will also highlight innovative solutions to college preparation, access, persistence, and success across Texas. Since its 2001 inception, GTF has approved more than $45 Million in grants to support Texas students.  For more information, please visit:

The Kresge Foundation is a $3 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services and community development efforts in Detroit. In 2013, the Board of Trustees approved 316 awards totaling $122 million; $128 million was paid out to grantees over the course of the year. In addition, our Social Investment Practice made commitments totaling $17.7 million in 2013. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decision-making through research and analysis. For over four decades, RAND Education, a division of RAND, has helped policymakers and practitioners around the world make educational policies, programs, and practices more effective for all. RAND Education uses a rigorous, objective approach and offers innovative ideas, methods, and practices to succeed in rapidly changing and financially constrained times.  More information is available at:

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board promotes access, affordability, quality, success, and cost efficiency in the state’s institutions of higher education, through Closing the Gaps and its successor plan, resulting in a globally competent workforce that positions Texas as an international leader in an increasingly complex world economy.

Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is the state agency charged with overseeing and providing workforce development services to employers and job seekers of Texas.

Jobs for the Future works to ensure that all underprepared young people and workers have the skills and credentials needed to succeed in our economy by creating solutions that catalyze change in our education and workforce delivery systems. Working with our partners, JFF designs and drives the adoption of innovative and scalable education and career training models and systems that lead from college readiness to career advancement. We also develop and advocate for the federal and state policies needed to support these solutions.  More information is available at:

Burning Glass was founded in 1999 with the goal of developing the world’s leading technologies for matching people with jobs and we continue to be dedicated to this goal. Our technologies deliver intuitive insight across a range of functions, including workforce and economic development, career exploration and counseling, as well as job matching. Our pioneering solutions leverage a deep understanding of people and their careers in order to deliver superior workforce and marketplace insight. Our patented artificial intelligence engine learns from actual career patterns as observed in both structured and natural language contexts in order to deliver an intuitive, real-time awareness of how and when people move from job to job and of the kinds of skills and experiences that lead to successful placement. Burning Glass is proud to serve a client base that spans six continents, including leading recruitment agencies, employers, software companies, job boards, educational institutions, and government agencies. More information is available at:

[i] Schleicher, A. 2012. Education At a Glance: OECD Indicators 2012.