McALLEN -- When it comes to education in the Rio Grande Valley, nearly every school district has the same goal: to provide the best opportunities and growth for their students as possible.

Which is why South Texas College, after receiving a $75,000 grant by the Texas Workforce Commission for their Associate Degree of Nursing Program, will be partnering with Mission CISD, Monte Alto ISD and Weslaco ISD to support and provide training in several areas of occupations.

These grants will provide funding for equipment to each school district that would address industry needs of high demand jobs in the area. For Mission CISD, who will be granted $206,584, and Weslaco ISD, granted $268,501, this includes training for future welders, cutters, solderers and brazers. For Monte Alto, who was awarded $112,614, it means training for licensed practical and vocational nurses. 

“I’m glad to see that these grants are going to rural communities,” said Julian Alvarez, who presented and signed the checks at the Grant Award Presentation Thursday afternoon and is part of the Texas Workforce Commission. “That’s a mandate for us - it’s looking at rural communities, serving those who are underserved. These opportunities are game changers.”

Out of the 12 awards given to schools and community/state colleges across Texas, five ended up in the Rio Grande Valley, with STC being one of 27 other institutions to receive a Job and Education for Texans (JET) grant. Superintendents, as well as grant writers, couldn’t be any more proud. 

“We are so thankful for this opportunity,” said Dr. Priscilla Canales, Superintendent for Weslaco ISD. “We believe in programs and creating opportunities for children, not just now but for life. With partnerships like ours and with support from Texas Workforce Commission, we’re making great things happen for our community.”

For many in the room, seeing several schools in one setting receive funds for a brighter future was a remarkable moment. It showed the growth, not only in the RGV’s education system, but the RGV as a community.

“When people say here in South Texas we’re living in silence, I differ,” Alvarez said. “Anyone who tells you we’re still living in silence and still have this small mentality is wrong - not when it comes to education. When it comes to education, we're all on the same team.”