EDITORIAL: Valuable workforce grants for the RGV

In today’s fast-evolving digital age, helping students keep up with automated mechanized equipment is necessary if they are to seek manufacturing jobs upon graduation, which tend to offer longevity and competitive pay.

That’s why two new grants totaling over $564,400 from the Texas Workforce Commission to local educators are so important for the Rio Grande Valley and should have a tremendous economic impact here.

The Texas Workforce Commission today is scheduled to present a $342,740 Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) grant to Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District to help the district purchase and install equipment that should provide 180 students with training for careers in manufacturing.

Texas Workforce Commissioner Julián Alvarez today also is expected to present a $221,729 Skills Development Fund grant to South Texas College and a consortium of manufacturers to provide manufacturing job training for students in our region.

Both grants — to be presented at a ceremony this morning at STC — should go toward helping local students get hands-on training in the manufacturing industry for these high-demand jobs.

The JET grant will help pay for industrial machinery mechanics equipment at PSJA ISD campuses and for developing career and technical education courses, like dual-credit programs, to teach future welders, cutters, solderers and brazers. It also will help students attain licenses, certificates and post-secondary degrees in advanced manufacturing technology, structural welding, architectural and visual technology through February 2018.

“This money is a tremendous opportunity. I know that the state has been very concerned about young people coming out and having skills to work in the modern workforce. So this gives us the opportunity to purchase modern, 21st century, up-to-date, state-of-the-art equipment, the same used in industry,” PSJA Superintendent Dr. Daniel King told us.

The manufacturing consortium will pair with STC to provide practical on-sight industrial-training with partnering organizations Cinch Connectivity Solutions, of McAllen, and Universal Metal Products, of Pharr.

“Studies show the more training employees receive the higher their wages,” said Carlos Margo, STC associate dean for industry training. “The community will prosper in many ways as a result of these grants.”

We hope so.

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