Gov. Perry visited with students in a computer laboratory in the ACES building following the press conference.
In his remarks, Governor Perry announced that 23 public and private universities across the state will receive more than $4.5 million in grants aimed at increasing the number of engineering and computer science graduates in Texas. The grants represent the first awards made through the Texas Technology Workforce Development Grant Program created by the 77th Legislature.
“The Digital Revolution rests on the shoulders of our young students coming out of Texas schools,” Perry said. “We must make sure that every young Texas who desires to build the next super-chip or the next life-saving digital device has access to training and expertise available in one of our many great universities.”
The more than $4.5 million in grants, funded by some of the state’s top technology companies and the State of Texas, marks the first collaboration of its kind between government, industry and higher education. Private donations matching state funding include a two-year commitment from Texas Instruments totaling $2 million, along with contributions from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Hewlett-Packard, Motorola and Sabre.
To address the critical shortage of workers in the fields of engineering and computer science, Perry signed into law Senate Bill 353 establishing the Texas Engineering and Technical Consortium. The consortium – composed of representatives from education and the technology industry – is a public-private partnership aimed at promoting education in the engineering and computer science fields.
Colleges and universities were invited to submit funding proposals to increase enrollment and retention rates in electrical engineering and computer science programs. Consortium members worked with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to review and approve projects.
“Today an important investment is being made to expand the technology workforce and to send the message to technology innovators that Texas is ready, willing and able to be part of continued growth,” Perry said.
Perry noted the Texas Technology Workforce Development Grant Program is regarded as a national workforce development model by the technology industry. In addition, federal lawmakers are currently considering legislation to create a similar national program in cooperation with the National Science Foundation.
During his State of the State Address in January 2001, Perry called on lawmakers to create a technology scholarship program that would help increase the number of computer science and engineering degrees in Texas. Senate Bill 353 – also known as the “Technology Development Workforce Act of 2001” – was sponsored by State Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) and State Rep. Brian McCall (R-Dallas).
Recipients of Texas Technology Workforce Development Grants include: Baylor University, Lamar University, Prairie View AandM University, Rice University, Southern Methodist University, Southwest Texas State University, St. Mary’s University of San Antonio, Tarleton State University, Texas AandM University, Texas AandM University – Kingsville, Texas Tech University, Texas Women’s University, University of Houston, University of Houston – Clear Lake, University of North Texas, University of Texas at Arlington, University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas at Dallas, University of Texas at El Paso, University of Texas at San Antonio, University of Texas at Tyler and University of Texas – Pan American.
For further information, contact Kathy Walt or Gene Acuña at (512) 463-1826.