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Unique Coalition In Collin County Celebrates First-Year Milestones

October 26, 2005– The High-Technology Education Coalition of Collin County (Hi-TECCC) is pleased to announce its one-year anniversary and accomplishments to date. The mission of the coalition is focused on the promotion of a high-quality science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education for North Texas students. The group, chartered in October 2004, includes partners Plano Independent School District (PISD), Collin County Community College District (CCCCD), The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), Lockheed Martin, Nortel, Raytheon and Texas Instruments.

The inaugural year milestones include:

• An Advanced Placement Physics camp for 47 PISD junior and senior girls, where they attended a two-week summer camp aimed at strengthening their understanding of physics concepts and exposing them to new careers and mentors in high-tech careers;

• Summer research internships for 13 PISD students who worked alongside faculty and students on high level projects on the UTD campus;

• Full scholarships for three CCCCD faculty to pursue doctoral degrees at UTD;

• Dual admissions agreement to allow students to transfer seamlessly from CCCCD to UTD with credits intact;

• SMART (Science, Math, Advanced Research and Technology) scholarships for 19 current students pursuing high-tech degrees, with two already transferring to UTD;

• Executive Principal Coaching Program that has paired ten PISD principals with community business leaders to mentor, provide guidance and teach business processes that could lead to better overall school performance.

According to a 2005 report titled “The Looming Workforce Crisis,” the United States should expect to see more than 2 million available jobs in computer science, mathematics, engineering and physical science by 2012, yet recent statistics show a downward trend in the number of engineering graduates. At the same time, more than half of all science and engineering workers in our country are over 40 and 26 percent are older than 50, which could further accelerate the shortage.

US-wide, 8th 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.

The goal of the coalition is to combat these trends in the North Texas region, create synergy among the institutions and members and increase the number of local students pursuing math and science based careers.

Second year objectives include:

• Expand and improve on existing programs;

• Develop programs in STEM disciplines to increase preparation and achievement in under-represented populations;

• Retention rate improvements in first-year college engineering majors;

• Implement a longitudinal assessment of program effectiveness;

• Effective articulation to community, parents and educators on the real need and value of STEM skills in the workplace;

• Increase in passing percentage of students taking advanced placement math and science exit exams;

• Addition of other industry partners.

The results of the first year are being announced at an event on the UTD campus October 27 at 4:00 p.m. in the School of Management.