AUSTIN — The Texas Workforce Commission awarded 14 grants totaling nearly $1 million to Texas universities and community colleges for summer youth camps that focus on science, technology, engineering and math.

The grants provide the opportunity for nearly 1,000 students between ages 14 and 21 to attend camps which will help prepare them for future high-skill, high-demand jobs. 

“These camps allow students to explore STEM disciplines outside the classroom while showing them the possibilities of a career in those fields,” Gov. Rick Perry said. “The Texas economy is becoming more and more technologically advanced, and our continuing success depends on the skills these bright young scientists and engineers will bring to the workforce.”

Administered by TWC, the effort is part of the Governor’s Summer Merit Program, which aims to inspire Texas youth to pursue STEM-related careers. The camps introduce campers to one or more of six industry clusters: advanced technologies and manufacturing, aerospace and defense, biotechnology and life sciences, information and computer technology, petroleum refining and chemical products, and energy.

“TWC is pleased to partner with these outstanding universities and community colleges to offer Texas students opportunities to explore high-demand STEM disciplines,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar.

Of the nearly 1,000 Summer Merit Program scholarships awarded to the 14 grant recipients, two were from Galveston County.

• University of Texas Medical Branch, $26,148 — 30 scholarships for two STEM QUEST day camps for disadvantaged and underrepresented groups that allow participants to engage in hands-on activities like DNA fingerprinting, conducting a geology dig, constructing a tower with cards, creating a soundproof chamber, investigating bones and joints, and robot programming and competition.

• University of Houston-Clear Lake, $90,000 — 90 scholarships for three camps, including the Cutting Edge Science for Healthcare camp, which teaches campers about clinical genetics, radiobiology and multimodal cancer treatment, with activities such as observation at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the Proton Therapy treatment facility.

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