TI supports HiTECCC, highlights 2007 accomplishments
The High Technology Education Coalition of Collin County (HiTECCC) made important advancements in 2007, emphasizing high-quality education.
HiTECCC is a first-of-its-kind collaborative effort designed to ensure that area students receive an exceptional science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. The charter members of HiTECCC are the Plano Independent School District, the Collin County Community College District (Collin College) and the University of Texas at Dallas, with an advisory committee of industry leaders from TI, Lockheed Martin, Nortel and Raytheon. Cisco and Alcatel-Lucent have also joined HiTECCC as members.
The program, which began in 2004, has exposed many area students to careers in technology by deploying programs in the STEM disciplines that increase preparation and achievement.
As industry reliance on technical skills continues to be an engine for economic expansion in North Texas, it is essential that a greater percentage of students are equipped for careers in math, science, engineering and technology. The coalition's mission: cause a stepwise improvement (help students transition from high school to community college to four-year degree programs in math and science) in the educational infrastructure of the area so that companies expanding or relocating will find a positive climate for research and innovation in Collin County. Strong higher and public education institutions directly link to a region's ability to attract talent.
Fulfilling a growing demand
According to a 2005 report titled "The Looming Workforce Crisis," the U.S. should expect to see more than 2 million available jobs in computer science, mathematics, engineering and physical science by 2012. Although some statistics show a downward trend in the number of engineering graduates nationwide, because of statewide efforts, Texas has seen a slight increase in the percentage of engineering since 2001. At the same time, more than half of all science and engineering workers in this country are over 40 and 26 percent are older than 50, which could accelerate the shortage.
Nationwide, eighth-grade students are ranked 19th overall in their math ability, behind such countries as Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Bulgaria and Slovenia, according to the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement.
HiTECCC seeks to combat these trends, create synergy among institutions and members, and increase the number of local students pursuing math- and science-based careers.
- Engineering Your Future Through Math and Science Family Night, an event spotlighting STEM careers, grew from one participating Plano ISD middle school in 2006 to two middle schools and one high school in 2007. More than 1,100 students participated in hands-on experiments, viewed technology exhibits and heard technology career presentations provided by HiTECCC members.
- Last summer, 25 Plano ISD students participated in research internships working alongside faculty and students on high-level projects on the UT Dallas campus. One of the participants working in a chemistry laboratory completed a research project that won the Siemens Competition in Math, Science, and Technology in Texas.
- UT Dallas and Collin College are entering their second year of an admission agreement year that allows Collin College students to begin their higher education at the community college while at the same time enjoying many of the benefits and experiences of campus life at UT Dallas.
- UT Dallas is in its second year of a new scholarship program in collaboration with Collin College that allows its students to continue their higher education by transferring to UT Dallas. Under this program, promising students transferring from Collin College to UT Dallas compete for grants ranging from $500 to $5,000. Last fall, UT Dallas awarded more than $250,000 in transfer scholarships to Collin College students.
- Eight Collin College faculty members received full scholarships to pursue doctoral degrees at UT Dallas.
- Five Collin College students received SMART (Science, Math, Advanced Research and Technology) scholarships to pursue high-tech degrees. TI created SMART through a $1 million grant to Collin College to encourage high school and college students to pursue careers in science and engineering.