08:46 AM

‘Stars align’ for partnerships and apprenticeships through South Texas College


Over $300,000 in grant funding was presented to the Lower Rio Grande Valley Workforce Development Board in partnership with STC, Edinburg Economic Development and Pharr Economic Development Aug. 2.

South Texas College (STC) will now partner with local workforce agencies and municipalities to bring numerous education and training opportunities to the Rio Grande Valley.

Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) presented over $300,000 in grant funding to the Lower Rio Grande Valley Workforce Development Board, which announced a partnership with STC, Edinburg EDC, and Pharr EDC on Aug. 2.

TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez was on hand to present the awards to representatives from STC, Edinburg and Pharr. STC Board Trustees on hand to receive the award on behalf of the college included Chairman Paul R. Rodriguez, Gary Gurwitz, and Dr. Alejo Salinas.

Edinburg EDC Interim Executive Director Ruben Ramirez and Pharr EDC Executive Director Victor Perez were on hand to receive the awards on behalf of their municipalities.

Special guests in attendance at the check presentation included Commissioner of Higher Education for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) Raymund A. Paredes, and THECB Vice-chair Dr. Fred Farias III.

“I think the stars have aligned for all of us,” Commissioner Alvarez said. “We have crossed paths in many ways, and one of the things that I can honestly say that beginning in 2016 we were able to put together a game plan…instilled in there is the value and remarks from many of you who attended those meetings on expanding apprenticeship programs, and allowing individuals to have options, not just alternatives.”

TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez
“I think the stars have aligned for all of us...allowing individuals to have options, not just alternatives.”
TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez

STC received an Apprenticeship Texas Expansion Grant in the amount of $199,390 to help initiate and expand existing Registered Apprenticeship Programs in the region. The Registered Apprenticeship Program is focused on auto service technicians, industrial maintenance, HVAC, and machinists.

STC serves as the RA sponsor, and the college will be responsible for developing and providing curriculum for apprentices while engaging and expanding RA programs and services through employer engagement.

“I think there are two key words in today’s activities, and those are jobs and partnerships,” STC Board Chairman Rodriguez said. “These programs go back to the days of apprenticeships which were the limitations of training programs for a long time.

“Bringing these back in this way shows true initiative, and I think there is a tremendous opportunity for everyone,” Rodriguez said. “We are certainly very pleased at South Texas College to be a part of these many partnerships, and we look forward to many more.”

The Lower Rio Grande Valley Workforce Development Board also received two High Demand Job Training (HDJT) Grants. One of those grants, in partnership with Edinburg EDC and STC in the amount of $93,110 is to provide training for 53 new and incumbent workers from businesses in Edinburg.

The Edinburg EDC plans to match that amount for a total $186,000 to be used to develop a first-of-its-kind maintenance training program for biomedical equipment in the city.

Funds in Edinburg will also be used for a customized Certified Nursing Assistance Program that will provide trainees who successfully complete the program with a Phlebotomy Certification from the National Health Care Association for Phlebotomy Technicians

Additional training areas through the grant in Edinburg also include customer service and cybersecurity.

The Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Board was also awarded a $19,000 grant from TWC in partnership with PSJA ISD and Pharr EDC to create a national certification for construction education and research. The Pharr EDC is contributing a 1:1 match for a total of $38,000 to support the project.

“This is what we do at South Texas College, and it’s our prime responsibility at Texas Workforce Commission,” Alvarez said. “It’s to allow individuals to have options as they grow up. Every individual should be able to go to college.”

For more information about apprenticeships at South Texas College, please visit STC’s Institute for Advanced Manufacturing at https://www.southtexascollege.edu/manufacturing/.