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​Students Will Co-Enroll at Two Institutions

Contact: Ann Hatch
214-378-1818; ahatch@dcccd.edu

For immediate release — June 26, 2015

Dr. Joe May speaks at a lectern.
The new engineering program will help produce the engineers we need for the future, said DCCCD Chancellor Dr. Joe May.

(DALLAS) — Faced with a critical need for more engineers in Texas, colleges and universities are looking for innovative ways to attract students to that field. Texas A&M University and El Centro College have launched an innovative program to do just that: attract students to the field of engineering, enable them to spend the first two years of study at a community college, co-enroll those students in the Texas A&M Dwight Look College of Engineering, and build a career that supports STEM initiatives and economic development.

The Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy, funded by a $5 million grant from Chevron, will be offered at El Centro as well as the Spring Branch campus of Houston Community College, Texas Southmost College in Brownsville and Alamo Colleges in San Antonio. The academy will open in fall 2016, and participating students can co-enroll in one of 16 majors in engineering through the Texas A&M Dwight Look College of Engineering.

“We hear so much today about establishing career pathways and also about the high demand for qualified graduates in STEM fields,” said Dr. Joe May, chancellor of the Dallas County Community College District. “We are excited to become a partner in the Texas A&M University-Chevron Engineering Academy, which builds a career pathway and also produces the engineers we need for the future.”

May added, “DCCCD believes in partnerships and building the future together with our colleagues in higher education and also with our partners in business and industry. For that reason, I believe that El Centro College is a perfect fit for the Texas A&M University-Chevron Academy. This academy and its future graduates will support economic development and give businesses, including Chevron, qualified engineers for the workforce.”

John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, kicked off the announcement with May on Thursday, along with Dr. Jose Adames, president of El Centro College; Dr. M. Katherine Banks, vice chancellor and dean of Texas A&M engineering; Dr. Karen Watson, executive vice president and provost for Texas A&M; and Shariq Yosufzai, Chevron’s vice president of ombuds, diversity and inclusion, and association relations.

“Texas has a significant need for more engineers and has an abundance of capable students,” said Sharp. “This new academy program provides a unique pathway toward earning a bachelor’s degree in engineering by completing the first two years of coursework at a two-year college as a Texas A&M engineering student.”

A 2012 report from the President’s Advisory Council on Science and Technology projected that 1 million more STEM degrees would be needed during the next decade. In Texas alone, the projected need for engineers in the workforce is 62,000 by 2022. To meet this need, universities and two-year colleges will need to work together to bridge the gap as well as attract and retain students who are interested in STEM fields.

“The Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy at El Centro College supports ECC’s renewed focus on STEM education, and it provides a pathway or a bridge from an associate degree to a bachelor’s degree in a much-needed field,” said Adames. “The agreement is in line with ECC’s STEM grant and other initiatives that encourage more women and under-represented populations in technical fields to consider becoming engineers.”

Representatives from El Centro, Texas A&M and Chevron reveal a poster about the new program.
Representatives from El Centro, Texas A&M and Chevron reveal a poster about the new program.

​Yosufzai said, “Partnering with Texas A&M, a top source of engineering hires for Chevron, to help provide opportunities in the field of engineering will support our efforts to build the diverse workforce of tomorrow that will be required to meet the energy needs of the future.” He also called the agreement a “seminal moment” in education and engineering that is “a game changer.”

Banks said the academies have the potential to reach beyond typical pathways for access to a top-ranked engineering program. She also stressed that El Centro students also will be Texas Aggies from the moment they enroll.

“We are excited about this program because our goal is to attract the very best students to Texas A&M engineering, even if circumstances require them to stay close to home for the first two years of college,” she said. “This is not a traditional transfer program. The academy’s students are enrolled in the engineering college at Texas A&M from day one. We are committed to supporting these students throughout their academic program, which will result in a degree from one of the premier engineering colleges in the nation.”

Faculty members from El Centro and Texas A&M will work together to deliver the classes and program that students need in Dallas before they transfer and move to College Station.

View a video of the event that launched the new Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy at El Centro College.

For more information about the Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy, contact Pam Green, director of communications for the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University, by phone at 979-845-4960 or by email at p-green@tamu.edu. For details about El Centro’s involvement in the academy, contact Priscilla Staley, director of marketing at ECC, by phone at 214-860-2038 or by email at pstaley@dcccd.edu.

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