Fresno State received a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to develop a guided pathway program that will help students, particularly Hispanic students, obtain bachelor’s degrees in the in-demand and high-paying science, technology, engineering, agricultural sciences and math — or STEAM — industries.
Agricultural sciences and technology was included because it is a major economic engine in the region that could offer a transformative pathway to leadership for the Hispanic workforce. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows California will have the highest employment for food scientists and plant scientists in the future. The Bureau of Labor also forecasts that, by 2022, California will have the largest STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workforce in the nation.
“The goal of the award is to democratize access to academic success for all students,” said Dr. Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Fresno State. “The project creates efficient, guided pathways, augmented with course-embedded research experiences, work-based learning opportunities, and career and financial planning for STEAM majors. I’m very excited, as this is an innovative and comprehensive approach that will further student success.”
The College of Science and Mathematics, the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology and the Lyles College of Engineering will participate in the “STEAM: Enriched Pathways” program which aims to:
- Provide guided pathways that include benchmarks and scorecards to guide STEAM majors along their University journey.
- Embed research experiences into entry-level courses so all students have an opportunity to engage in high impact research early.
- Incorporate career and financial planning into first-year courses to help students with professional development and financial literacy to strengthen motivation and success.
- Increase the number of work-based learning opportunities for students such as shadowing professionals during their first two years at Fresno State and participating in internships during their last two years at the University.
- Collaborate with industries to develop research experiences and work-based learning opportunities related to regional economic needs.
- Develop a permanent endowment to continue supporting student success.
Fresno State is a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution. Nearly 55% of the more than 25,000 students enrolled at the University are Hispanic.