McALLEN — South Texas College and many of its industry partners are kicking off the new year with three grants totaling nearly $1 million for workforce training.
The $974,665 total was divided in three grants from the Texas Workforce Commission all aimed at advanced training for three specific areas.
“What’s fantastic is that all of them are in high-demand industries,” said Commissioner Ruth Hughs, TWC chair, who was present to sign the checks on Friday. “Because we only invest in education training in high-demand industries so that those students who are getting those skills will be set up for success.”
The Jobs and Education for Texans grant, known as JEP, provided the college with $249,096 for the purchase of state-of-the art equipment for STC’s Computer Information Technology program such as cyber security and computer networking.
The Skills Development Fund was awarded for manufacturing training in the amount of $409,890. This will go toward providing industry partners already selected with free skills training for current employees moving up the ranks or recent hires.
A second Skills Development Grant was also awarded for the healthcare field in the amount of $655,153. Much like the manufacturing grant, this money will be used to provide industry partners with employee training.
“With this grant all of us are going to benefit,” said Olivia de la Rosa, director of professional workforce education, who was in charge of the healthcare side. “Our business partners are very excited. This grant is going to help them upgrade their skills and in turn it helps the community because we become patients of theirs.”
On the healthcare side the grant was divided into $315,679 that will remain in the Rio Grande Valley with area partners, and the rest will go to partnering institutions across the state.
“It’s really a win-win,” Hughs said. “The employer gets a customized curriculum to meet their needs and of course you have students getting these marketable skills and employees getting marketable skills that are going to help them advance.”
Some of the partners for the two skills grants include Grant United Health Systems, Southwest Texas Junior College, Laredo College, Wood Crafters Home Products and TST NA Trim LLC.
“It includes almost every aspect of anybody who works inside the hospital it’s not just nurses and (Certified Nurse Assistants),” said Teresa Johnson who works in the education department at South Texas Health System. “Radiology can attend these courses with us; respiratory therapy can attend these courses with us. These courses are just as important to those departments.”
The college continuously applies for these grants for various high-demand areas around the Valley. And even tough, the partners for this specific grant have already been selected and began their training in the fall, STC President Shirley Reed said she hopes those still looking for skill training see these opportunities and reach out to the college.
“It’s critical for the economic development of our community,” Reed said. “It’s through preparing the workforce that brings jobs and when people have good paying jobs they have money to spend in your community. That’s how you create regional prosperity.”