The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) supports youth programs that help middle and high school students explore careers. These programs grow skills and help students explore and learn about many fields.
One way TWC does this is by funding grants that support youth STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) career exploration. These programs are described below.
Texas Science & Engineering Fair
The Texas Science and Engineering Fair (TXSEF) happens every year and is supported by TWC and other partners. It's an event for middle and high school students that is hosted by Texas A&M University. At the fair, students show off their projects and compete in 21 different categories. There are awards for first, second and third place in each category. There are also two Grand Prizes and one Best-of-Show winner for both junior and senior divisions.
High school students who do well at the fair can win a scholarship to attend the Governor's Science and Technology Champions Academy.
The top competitors in the junior division can move on to the national Broadcom Masters competition. Some of the winning senior division entries may get to compete in the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).
To get to TXSEF, students first take part in one of the 13 regional fairs held across Texas. They can enter as a team or as individuals. At the fair, they get to show their research to judges who are experts in the field. It is a chance for students to learn more about STEM and to be recognized for their hard work in STEM research.
Governor’s Science & Technology Champions Academy
Students who do well in the Texas Science & Engineering Fair can attend the Governor's Science and Technology Champions Academy summer camp. At the camp, students learn from STEM experts in many fields. The skills they learn at the camp prepare them to participate in Texas’ workforce.
Governor’s Summer Merit Program
The Governor's Summer Merit Program is a summer camp that aims to motivate young people in Texas to consider careers in STEM. At these camps, students explore many STEM fields. The camps introduce students to STEM jobs that need special skills and are in high demand in Texas.
The Camp Code program supports summer camps where kids can learn STEM skills. In 2023, more than 1,200 students will participate in Camp Code. They will work together in teams to create games, websites, and robots using programming languages. These activities drive interest in STEM and contribute to Texas’ future workforce needs.
Robotics competitions are a mix of sports and science and technology. These programs, such as FIRST in Texas, help students grow their skills in science, engineering and technology. They also build self-confidence and communication skills. TWC has supported the FIRST in Texas high school programs since 2010.