A new $3.5 million grant will help train college students for careers in computer science and engineering.

The Florida Board of Governors announced the program Wednesday at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. The grant recipients -- FAU, Broward College and Palm Beach State College -- formed a partnership to apply for the grant, which is designed to help align university and college degrees with employers' workforce needs.

"This project shows that when we all work together on education we can accomplish amazing things," said FAU President John Kelly.

The grant is part of $15 million allocated by the legislature for the Targeted Educational Attainment program statewide.

About 20 to 25 computer science students will be chosen for the program this fall and 400 over the next five years, FAU officials said. Students, chosen based on their grade-point average and other factors, will be mentored and complete an internship.

The colleges and university will exchange faculty -- the first formal program to do so -- to teach the classes. Students will be able to attend any of the schools.

J. David Armstrong Jr., president of Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, said the program will help students, who are more mobile these days, to be competitive globally.

Dennis Gallon, president of Palm Beach State College, said the program will be seamless between the schools, providing "a non-stop flight plan so they will be able to reach their destination."

Dan Cane, co-founder and chief executive of health-data firm Modernizing Medicine, located in The Research Park at FAU in Boca Raton, said he got involved in local education because he recognized that schools weren't teaching the critical thinking that employers need.

Modernizing Medicine has hired one-third of its 200 staff members from FAU. "It's a key to our success," said Cane, now an FAU trustee.

(c) 2014 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)