U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist announced a $1 million grant to St. Petersburg College to help increase diversity and support underrepresented communities in pursuit of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees.
The grant will go to the Tampa Bay Bridge to Baccalaureate Alliance (TB-B2B) program, which provides resources and support to STEM students looking to get a bachelor’s degree. The alliance is led by St. Petersburg College in partnership with other Tampa Bay area schools, including Hillsborough Community College and State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota. The University of South Florida is also an informal partner.
“This grant will increase Black and Hispanic students in Pinellas County’s access to a STEM education, opening the door to better paying jobs and strengthening the workforce in our area,” Crist said in a new release. “I’m proud of the work being done by SPC and their regional partners, leading the charge to create greater opportunities for minority students in cutting edge fields where we need more skilled workers.”
The grant was awarded by the National Science Foundation. Crist, as a member of the Appropriations Committee and the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, secured increased NSF funding, some of which will now be used through this grant.
Crist worked with other members of Congress to pass legislation allocating $8.55 billion to the NSF in 2021, a $270 million increase from last year.
With this new grant, St. Petersburg College will be able to fund activities focused on the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students and provide academic advice and mentorship. The funding will also help with undergraduate research, career exploration and professional development activities, with the help of a network of local partners. The goal is to provide minority students the resources needed to graduate with four-year degrees in STEM and successfully transition into the workforce.