By Amanda Sotelo, TSTC Staff
Texas State Technical College and the Brownsville Independent School District Adult Continuing Education program are working together, in a newly formed partnership, to provide students with the opportunity to learn a trade and obtain a rewarding career.
This partnership allows students who are pursuing a General Educational Development diploma through the Brownsville school district also to train and get certified as a phlebotomist through TSTC’s Workforce Training and Continuing Education department.
“This is the first time we have partnered with BISD in this capacity,” said Myra De Leon, Workforce Training and Continuing Education project manager. “Establishing relationships like this allows us to provide people in our region with opportunity and better jobs.”
Debbie Alford, BISD Adult Continuing Education administrator, said this partnership was built to fulfill the requirements of a $1.6 million annual grant the district received from the Texas Workforce Commission to help GED students gain employment.
“TSTC has a wide variety of programs and certifications, and that allows us to offer more opportunities to our students,” said Alford. “They understand the needs of our adult population, and that has allowed this partnership to be successful.”
The Phlebotomy Technician course was selected for this first cohort, which began last month, because of industry demand throughout the Rio Grande Valley, according to De Leon.
“There is a high demand for skilled phlebotomists in our local medical clinics, hospitals and plasma centers,” said De Leon. “That’s how we knew this program would be the perfect fit for these students.”
Students in the program must complete 40 GED hours to begin the phlebotomy course, which is free for them and runs for eight weeks. Classes are held Monday through Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to noon and Thursday from 8 a.m. to noon.
After three to four weeks in the classroom, training continues with clinical rotations at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen.
Upon successful completion of the phlebotomy course, students will receive their certification and can obtain employment as a phlebotomist anywhere in Texas.
“This is the partnership’s first cohort, but past phlebotomy cohorts we have offered have proven that these skills are in demand by graduates finding immediate employment,” said De Leon. “Some have even shown interest in pursuing other careers within the health field and have gone on to enroll in TSTC’s Vocational Nursing program.”
Both De Leon and Alford agree that they hope to see this partnership develop and grow so that they can increase the number of courses offered. Both entities are planning to add a welding course next year.
“This partnership is offering great opportunities for our students,” said Alford. “We hope to see it grow and look forward to the future.”
De Leon shares the same sentiment.
“This is a great opportunity for Cameron County and our region,” she said. “We’re providing training that is providing great career opportunities.”
For more information on this training program, call 956-698-0054.
For more information on TSTC’s Continuing Education Phlebotomy Technician course, visit https://tstc.edu/workforce/ce.