LUBBOCK, Texas — Texas Tech University received a $1.5 million grant to help their West Texas Rural Education Partnership to address the shortage of teachers across West Texas.

The West Texas Rural Education Partnership started in April 2021, and after one year, the program has already gained 48 teachers that are spread out into 18 different rural districts.

The grant will help fund the partnership for the next three years.

“This is to create a pathway to teaching in rural school districts. They [rural districts] experience higher rates of attrition, and they have harder times recruiting new teachers.” Doug Hamman, Director of West Texas Rural Education Partnership, said.

The program offers future educators an opportunity to get a remote education and paid residencies along with a $20,000 stipend.

“[The program] provides a financial incentive for the teacher candidate to either relocate or commute to the rural school district,” Hamman said. “And so the stipend allows the teacher candidate to focus on learning to teach rather than doing a student teaching a time and then also working part time.”

Hamman said the goal for the next three years is to have 252 teachers sent out into 84 different rural districts.

“Each of the universities will partner with a set number of school districts that work to provide the educator preparation program in those districts,” Hamman said, “and then also then recruiting from community colleges and from the community to to identify individuals who want to be teachers, and who wants to work in the in those communities.”