TSTC receives $500K from TWC for workforce training

Amanda Sotelo, Special to the Star

By Amanda Sotelo, Special to the Star

In a matter of one week, Texas State Technical College in Harlingen and West Texas has received Skills Development Fund Grants from the Texas Workforce Commission for customized industry training valued at more than half a million dollars.

In a recent ceremony at the college’s Harlingen campus, a dual check presentation was made to TSTC for a $15,721 Skills Development Fund Grant and $99,803 High Demand Job Training Grant.

“I know the value that these training dollars bring,” said Commission Representing Labor of the TWC Julian Alvarez. “The Rio Grande Valley continues to thrive. What we offer is value. What we are doing here, the collaboration to work together and train, should be replicated in other parts of the state.”

Alvarez also said these grants are putting people in careers, and at the end of the day it’s institutions like TSTC that are getting people the training they need to make these careers long-lasting.

The Skills Development Fund Grant was awarded to TSTC, in partnership with the Harlingen Manufacturing Consortium.

The Harlingen Manufacturing Consortium is made up of four local manufacturing companies – Aloe Laboratory, Inc., Atlantic Durant Technology, Fox Valley Molding, Inc. and Sauceda’s Precision Grinding Inc.

Approximately 79 production employees from these companies will have the opportunity to receive customized workforce training provided by TSTC Workforce Training and Continuing Education.

The training grant goes to skill up workers in manufacturing-related positions, safety and leadership. Training includes blueprint reading, machining math, computer numerical control (CNC) programming and programmable logic controllers (PLC).

“Manufacturing is constantly changing,” said Executive Director of TSTC Workforce Training and Continuing Education Isidro Ramos. “Companies must keep pace to make sure their workforce is skilled and trained.”

TSTC Provost Cledia Hernandez said student training and workforce training go hand-in-hand

“Our region is shifting to become a hub for advanced manufacturing. There’s growth and development. And being able to have a part of that is a great honor for us,” she said. “These grants are collaboration at its best. It serves one major purpose and that is investment – investment in employees and teams.”

In addition to the signing of the Skills Development Fund Grant, TSTC received a High Demand Job Training Grant.

The grant provides investments in skills-training for high demand occupations. In this case, it funds the Heavy Duty Diesel Engine Specialist course under TSTC Workforce Training.

Funds from this grant went to purchase equipment that improves facilities, and altogether increases TSTC’s training capacity.

It is a 50/50 match between Workforce Cameron and the Harlingen Economic Development Corporation, a TSTC industry partner.

“This is to be sure we are meeting and closing the gap for trained diesel technicians in the area,” said Hernandez. “We have a strong program that is preparing students, during a 6-week training, to make sure they are able to have a large impact on our workforce. And this grant will help us expand this opportunity.”

The Heavy Duty Diesel Engine Specialist program is 232 hours and many students obtain job offers prior to completing the course and graduating.

According to Hernandez, many of these positions acquired have a starting wage at $22 an hour.

Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell praised TSTC, the TWC, Harlingen Economic Development Corporation and every manufacturing company involved in making these grants and training possible.

“It’s great to be here, again,” he said. “We’re really making a habit out of this and we need to keep this momentum going because this is a great thing for our community. These grants allow for our companies to expand their footprint, which in turn benefits the entire region. Congratulations everyone.”

For more information on the services offered by TSTC Workforce Training and Continuing Education, visit tstc.edu/workforce/home.