GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Aiming to help train more teachers, Davenport University and Grand Rapids Public Schools are partnering to create 75 new annual scholarships.

The goal is to create a pipeline of science, technology, engineering and math teachers to GRPS, which like other districts around the state and country has had a tough time finding enough teachers.

“The whole purpose of our program, the urban STEM education, is to provide students that are coming into elementary or secondary with deep content knowledge in the STEM fields,” College of Urban Education Dean Susan Gunn said. “It’s really important that not only do they have that knowledge, but they can apply that knowledge in a culturally responsive way.”

Recipients of the STEM Educator Scholarship will get up to $12,000 per year to put toward a bachelor’s degree from the Davenport College of Urban Education. The scholarship is renewable each year for four years and can be used to pay for tuition, books, housing and more.

The 75 scholarships are meant to be split evenly between current students, staff and parents within GRPS. Recipients may not have attended Davenport within the last year.

“We’re addressing engagement of all stakeholders: students, staff and members of the community, and that’s truly a grow-your-own concept. I’m really excited to see us develop this with our oldest partner, Grand Rapids Public Schools, and in the future with other partners as well,” Gunn said.

Davenport says it’s offering a similar program to 10 districts across the state but GRPS is the first to get on board.

“Our goal is to provide the whole state with qualified, new teachers that are excited, that are really deeply involved in STEM. There’s a lot of depth and knowledge in math and science, technology and so forth,” Davenport University President Richard Pappas. “Eventually we want to be in every school district who wants us.”