EL PASO, TX (KTSM) – Governor Greg Abbott on Thursday awarded 17 grants totaling nearly $1.3 million that will be distributed through the Governor’s Summer Merit Program to Texas universities and community colleges for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) summer youth camps.

Awarded by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), these funds will provide scholarships for 2,231 students ages 14 – 21 to attend the STEM camps to prepare them for future high-skill, high-demand jobs.

The Governor’s Summer Merit Program introduces Texas young people to one or more of Texas’ six focus industry clusters: advanced technologies and manufacturing, aerospace and defense, biotechnology and life sciences, information and computer technology, petroleum refining and chemical products, and energy. Texas is projected to add more than 300,000 STEM occupations through 2028, according to data projections by the TWC Labor Market Information Department. Several camps are designed to encourage young women and minorities to pursue further education and careers in STEM. 

“Texas is a global leader in science and technology, and we will continue offering the best opportunities for young Texans to become engaged in STEM,” said Governor Abbott. “Developing a highly skilled, diverse workforce for tomorrow would not be possible without investing in Texas’ most valuable asset—students in our classrooms today. Through the Governor’s Summer Merit Program, our universities and community colleges will provide life-changing educational experiences for the next generation of engineers, mathematicians, software developers, and more in the Lone Star State.”

“Each of Texas’ 182,000 STEM job openings represent a valuable opportunity for a Texan to connect to a lifetime of success,” said TWC Chairman Bryan Daniel.  “Youth initiatives supported by TWC, including the Governor’s Summer Merit Program, help Texas’ future workforce learn about these exciting opportunities and create a talent pipeline for Texas industry.”

“The Governor’s Summer Merit Program takes what would normally be a $700 camp for a student and offers it for free. This is how we find our next programmers, scientists, and engineers,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “From game programming to drones and artificial intelligence, these camps focus on the future.” “Texas is home to more Fortune 500 companies than any other state, and those Texas employers want a talented workforce that is flexible, well-rounded, and ready to innovate,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Aaron Demerson. “When I talk to employers, they express their interest in finding more skilled employees. A STEM education is a valuable tool and a starting point to helping train the workforce these employers need.

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