Grant awarded to train nurses and nursing aides.

They’ve got the only Level II Trauma Center in the Valley.

They’ve got the only Comprehensive Stroke Center south of San Antonio.

Patients from throughout the Valley rely on Valley Baptist Medical Center–Harlingen for these and other services. However, such expertise requires training not only to bring medical personnel to a certain level of talent but to keep them there.

And that costs money.

That’s why Valley Baptist is partnering with Texas State Technical College for a $301,238 job training grant from Texas Workforce Commission.

The funds will be used to train 155 nurses and nurse’s aides, said Pat Palomo, director of education at Valley Baptist.

“TSTC is bringing the instructors and we provide the classroom space and other items they need,” Palomo said.

Julian Alvarez, commissioner of the Texas Workforce Commission, described it as a “visionary grant.”

“We have nurses from all over the Valley,” Alvarez said. “That includes nurse’s aides. They take care of people at their most vulnerable times.”

The boost in funding and jobs training is a boost for Harlingen, said Mayor Chris Boswell, who pointed out that health care is a growing industry here.

“There’s about 5,000 jobs created in Harlingen just through the three hospitals, psychiatric hospital, Su Clinica and the VA,” he said. “It’s very important to have this kind of grant to train people who work in that sector that employs people from throughout the Rio Grande Valley.”

Palomo said it’s not enough to have personnel trained at a high level of expertise. You must work to keep them there.

“The grant is to enhance and maintain the skill level of our nursing staff that takes care of the community,” she said.

WHAT: Skills Development Fund Grant

TO: Partnership between Valley Baptist Medical Center – Harlingen and Texas State Technical College.

FROM: Texas Workforce Commission

FOR: Training nurses and nurse’s aides at Valley Baptist in Harlingen