By ELSA CAVAZOS
HARLINGEN — What sounds like a sci-fi movie has now become reality for Harlingen students.
Imagine stepping onto an oil rig and being able to experience what it is like working there and fixing equipment while you’re actually in a classroom.
Students at Dr. Cano Freshman Academy will now get to enjoy this experience thanks to a grant the Harlingen school district received from the Texas Workforce Commission.
“You are basically putting a computer on your head. It’s putting a hologram in front of your eyes and it interacts with your environment. It maps things out in a physical room,” engineering teacher Justin Evans said.
“It can take you through a cadaver, an archaeological site, anything. This is new technology we received a few weeks ago and the idea is to use them in the classroom.”
Besides the Microsoft HoloLens, a 3D printer also was purchased with the grant. The focus of the Jobs and Education for Texans grant is to use the money to purchase and install equipment for students training to become electrical and electronic engineering technicians.
Another two Harlingen institutions received grants from TWC.
The Workforce Solutions Cameron and Aloe Laboratories Inc., Atlantic Durant Technology Inc., Fox Valley Molding and Sauceda’s Precision Grinding Inc., partnered with Texas State Technical College.
The grant provided to Workforce Solutions Cameron will be used to cover equipment and job training costs for up to 10 students to attend automotive repair training. The second is to provide funding for job training.
Two ceremonies were held yesterday, one at TSTC and another at Dr. Cano Freshman Academy where TWC State Commissioner Julian Alvarez presented and signed the awarded checks.
In attendance were Mayor Chris Boswell; Isidro Ramos, TSTC Workforce and Training Executive Director; Pat Hobbes, Executive Director of TWC Cameron; and HCISD Superintendent Dr. Arturo Cavazos.
“We’ve awarded HCISD with multiple JET grants in the past, which should be a compliment to the school district since these are very competitive grants and from the 13 grants in this round seven of them were for the Valley, which is amazing,” Alvarez said.
“These grants are awarded throughout the whole state. One of the things I find rewarding is that one will be going for advanced manufacturing. We find joy in people who make these grants possible, state and local leadership makes it happen.”
The purpose of the grants is to provide new job opportunities for schools and companies as well as provide equipment needed to those in training. Alvarez emphasized at the ceremony in Dr. Cano Freshman Academy that technology is advancing in Harlingen and because of it students are finding new opportunities.
“Somebody has to repair these new gadgets. Somebody has to design it. Well you know what, we are going to go to Harlingen and figure out how to do it,” Alvarez said. “Programs like what you’ve put in here are just the beginning.”
By the Numbers
•Workforce Solutions Cameron granted $49,900 High Demand Job Training grant.
•Aloe Laboratories Inc., Atlantic Durant Technology Inc., Fox Valley Molding and Sauceda’s Precision Grinding Inc., partnering with Texas State Technical College – Harlingen, a $155,721 Skills Development Fund grant.
• HCISD a $116,412 Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) grant.