South Texas College receives three grants from Texas Workforce Commission

McALLEN – South Texas College (STC) was paid a visit by Texas Workforce Commissioner Ruth R. Hughs where she signed three checks totaling more than $1.3 million.

The three grants will help fund trainings in computer systems, healthcare and manufacturing industries for students studying at STC.

The Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) grant totaled $249,096, a Skills Development Fund (SDF) Manufacturing grant was for $409,890 and a SDF healthcare grant was awarded for $655,153. South Texas College competed with 50 other colleges for the funds.

Grant partners included United Health Systems and two colleges, Southwest Texas Junior College and Laredo College. Local company Wood Crafters Home Products from Weslaco and TST NA Trim partnered with the manufacturing grant. The JET grant will benefit STC students by providing equipment for the Computer Information Technology (CIT) Program.

The CIT program at South Texas College is still in its infancy and has seen success.

“There is a huge responsibility to prepare the new students who are taking jobs in our local industries in cyber security,” Cybersecurity chair Frank Salinas said.

The equipment purchased with the grant will help make the students more successful and marketable to the workforce.

For the healthcare grant the goal was to improve a quality of life for patients and the skill of their employees and have partnered with three hospitals.

The SDF grant for manufacturing comes at a crucial time for people like Roberto Duran who represents TS Tech, a company that manufactures seats for Honda. The company has been in the Rio Grande Valley for seven years and has 120 employees. Currently there are seven positions open and as students receive training they will be able to join the company.

“With this grant we would be able to hire them and grow our company,” Duran said.

At the presentation Hughs shared figures that included McAllen being the top spot on the U.S. Booms Town List which is based on population, construction and new buildings. The unemployment rate, while may be higher than other parts of the state has been continuously dropping the past five years.

In the past year there has been an addition to 5,300 jobs in the region.

“These statistics are just an example of the growing opportunities that are in the McAllen area,” Hughs said. “They really represent the dynamic partnerships that exist when private and public entities come together.”

Hughs also noted the grants the Texas Workforce Commission awards are only for high demand industries so students are set up for success. The JET grant will have a regional impact of $8.1 million.

”One million-dollar morning,” STC President Dr. Shirley Reed said. “Not bad for a gloomy morning.“