Economic agency helps fund TSTC auto repair program

HARLINGEN — The Harlingen Economic Development Corp. has agreed to match funding for a workforce training grant to purchase equipment for a Texas State Technical College auto repair program.

The $73,192 will help fund the purchase of equipment for TSTC’s auto collision repair training program, HEDC officials said.

The purchase will include an alignment machine system, balancers, wheel lifts, welders, ATech Trainer Lighting System, ATech Trainer System for Power Door Locks, ATech Trainer for Power Window Systems and related equipment.

Each year the Texas Workforce Commission dedicates more than $1 million in funds to address skill gaps and ensure talent pipelines.

These funds are made available to local workforce boards in order to continue building a qualified local workforce with the help of local economic development organizations.

Workforce Solutions-Cameron received $150,000 of those TWC funds. The county jobs agency will be providing a requested $72,695 to TSTC, and HEDC’s board agreed to match.

The combined funds will total $145,887 and will guarantee a better training environment for the 2021 cohort of at least 20 students and future classes as well.

“These funds will be used to purchase training equipment that will prepare our students for the local workforce, and that would include working at local car dealerships or automotive repair facilities,” said Richard Mesquias, TSTC senior field development officer.

Mesquias added that the Auto Collision and Management Technology program averages 25 students a semester. Local businesses, including Boggus Ford Harlingen, offer students internships and scholarships.

“Support of programs like these helps keep our workforce local,” said Mickey Boland, chair of the HEDC board. “We are all working together to ensure that students are provided with quality training and leave TSTC skilled and prepared for the local workforce.”