The Houston Region will need 79,000 new engineers over the next decade, however, experts estimate that local universities can only produce half that number with current programs. That’s why West Houston Association leaders are working to promote a four-year-old program that can help produce an extra 100 engineers per year.
“We have to find a way to get more young people in our region through quality engineering schools if we want to maintain our economy and create a sustainable region. It’s that simple,” said Bob Jones, who serves on the Texas A&M University College of Engineering Advisory Board and the West Houston Association Board.
The Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy at Houston Community College is under the Engineering Center of Excellence and located on HCC Spring Branch Campus. The Academy brings Texas A&M engineering professors and dedicated, state-of-the-art facilities to West Houston.
“We see a lot of highly qualified high-school students who have what it takes to become Aggie engineers, so we are determined to increase the access and affordability of our Aggie Engineering degree,” said Dr. Cindy Lawley, Texas A&M’s Assistant Vice Chancellor responsible for A&M Engineering academies across the state.
“Our Engineering Academies gives students the opportunity to start as Aggies closer to home, which has a lot of advantages,” said Lawley.
Academy students and their families can save up to $50,000, including room and board costs, for the same Texas A&M degree as students who start on main campus. Academy students are also positioned to graduate in the same amount of time. In spring 2018, more than 75 percent of academy student’s prepared to transition to main campus entered their first pick of major.
“More than half of upper-level engineering students have associate degrees. Starting at a community college with smaller, more affordable classes is the new normal,” said John Vaselli, Dean of HCC’s Engineering Center of Excellence, who also coordinates four-year engineering programs with the University of Houston and the University of Texas—Tyler.
“This program is a no-brainer,” said Dr. Zach Hodges, President of HCC’s Northwest Campuses and West Houston Association Board Member. “Students can get an amazing degree from Texas A&M, avoid a lot of debt, and start making connections in the community so they have a better chance of getting the job they want when they graduate,” said Hodges.
The West Houston Association members can support the Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy by volunteering at career events and offering engineering students internships. If your company is interested in participating, please contact Imani Forrest, West Houston Association Director of Communications and Outreach.