The grant will help fund the school's Gateways Partnership -- which is composed of more than 30 partners from business, education, civic, nonprofit and philanthropic organizations focused on children's learning in preschool through college.

"This grant from the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation goes a long way toward ensuring that our partnership is successful," said Mo Qayoumi, president of Cal State East Bay who co-leads the Gateways executive committee.

"For a growing and stable economy now and into the future, we must have a technically skilled and well-educated workforce to meet the needs of regional business and industry in order to ensure the economic and social vibrancy of the communities we serve."

The research-based Gateways Partnership was established in 2009 at Cal State East Bay.

The goal of the program is to develop a pipeline of students and graduates to fill the workforce needs of the area by improving science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills early on in a students' education.

The foundation supports selected nonprofit organizations and initiatives -- typically in the Bay Area -- that address specific challenges to the country's economy.