Grant Gives SPC Students Greater Access to Science, Engineering Degrees
The federal grant goes to the Tampa Bay Bridge to the Baccalaureate program, which aims to increase diversity in STEM programs and the STEM job force.
ST. PETERSBURG – U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, on Monday (Feb. 26) announced that St. Petersburg College will receive a $1.5 million federal grant for the Tampa Bay Bridge to the Baccalaureate program.
The Bridge to the Baccalaureate program is designed to help increase diversity in science, technology, engineering and math academic degree programs as well as the STEM workforce. (For a story about the Bridge to the Baccalaureate program, click here.)
SPC serves as the lead institution for the project that aims to increase the number of minority students transferring into four-year baccalaureate STEM programs by 50 percent with the support of this three-year National Science Foundation grant.
“I am so proud of St. Petersburg College’s efforts to diversify the STEM workforce,” Crist ssaid. “This well-deserved grant will help further this important work, greatly benefiting our community and economy.”
TB-B2B is a partnership between SPC, Hillsborough Community College, and State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. The three colleges typically see more than 400 of their minority students transfer into STEM programs at a four-year university every year.
“We are so honored to be a part of this partnership, which will give underrepresented, minority students opportunities to pursue baccalaureate degrees in STEM fields leading to high-wage jobs that can help end generational cycles of poverty,” said Dr. Tonjua Williams, SPC President. “We are grateful to the National Science Foundation and our educational partners for their commitment to equity and diversity in STEM fields – a commitment that is crucial to meeting the ever-evolving needs of the 21st-century workforce.”
TB-B2B students will engage in undergraduate research and hands-on experiential learning opportunities, increasing their research knowledge base and exploration of STEM interests and careers. A four-year STEM degree leads to higher wages, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. STEM workers earn about 30 percent more than their non-STEM counterparts do.
Tampa Bay is fast becoming the epicenter of STEM industry and innovation within the state of Florida, and currently ranks as the state’s leading technology hub, according to the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. Enterprise Florida estimates that 15 out of the 20 fastest growing job fields will require a STEM education, and projects the need for 120,000 new STEM workers by 2018 alone.
Photo shows U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, left, presenting the grant check to St. Petersburg College President Tonjua Williams. Courtesy of St. Petersburg College.
Charlie Crist | Tonjua Williams | St. Petersburg College | Education | STEM Education | Bridge to the Baccalaureate | Tampabay News
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