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TWC initiative funds training for local industry

Responding to a direct need from COVID 19 pandemic, Skills Development Fund grant trains over 300 employees from local business

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Texas Workforce Commissioner representing labor, Julian Alvarez III, presented South Texas College with a Skills Development Fund grant aiming to keep local, regional, and state economies moving forward.

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MCALLEN, TEXAS – Even at the onset of a global pandemic in 2020, South Texas College was one of the first institutions to begin showing the workforce and its employers  how to adapt, according to Texas Workforce Commissioner Julian Alvarez.

Commissioner Alvarez, who was on hand to present STC with a Skills Development Fund (SDF) check in the amount of $287,500 at a special recognition ceremony on July 6, said it has been amazing to see progress at the college, compared to one year ago. 

“The unemployment rate continues to drop,” Alvarez said. “That’s amazing considering what we were experiencing this time last year, and South Texas College was one of the first institutions to start training the workforce working with employers to adapt.”

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The SDF award provides over $10 million in training for businesses in response to the immediate needs of the COVID-19 pandemic, including skills training that was vital to keeping the state and nation’s economy moving forward. 

South Texas College is one of the first organizations in Texas to receive a portion of $10 million of the funding to train employees in essential industries.

“Like many, the COVID-19 pandemic brought upon a unique set of challenges to continue our mission,” said Dr. David Plummer, Interim President of South Texas College. “I’d like to commend our team for adapting and using creative platforms on both the workforce and continuing education sides to support employers and train 358 employees.”

Olivia De La Rosa, Director of Continuing, Professional, and Workforce Education at South Texas College, noted that training topics included billing for telehealth services, disinfection training, customer safety, cross-training for employees to fill job demands resulting from workforce reduction.

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“Our training partners, including the Practice Management Institute and the Leadership Empowerment Group, helped us deliver over 5,000 hours for training,” De La Rosa said. “The Physicians Health Plus Organization and the Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance worked with us to coordinate training for over 50 doctor’s offices and clinics.”

“This grant is a testament to innovation and thinking outside of the box when it comes to training local workers,” said Representative Oscar Longoria of House District 35. “This investment enables our workforce to meet the needs of area employers, which helps our community thrive.”

South Texas College’s Associate Dean of Industry Training and Economic Development, Dr. Carlos Margo, said in addition to healthcare, employers including Metal Processing International, Black & Decker, and Interlink Trade Services utilized training in manufacturing and warehouse distribution. 

“This grant added another level of training opportunities,” Margo said. “There are lasting positive results from the curriculum and programs we’ve developed and the relationships we’ve built with our partners.”

“Everyone wins when we use strategic thinking to ensure our workers have the skills area employers need,” said Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. of Senate District 27. “The ability of our local workers to pivot and learn new skills is one of the main reasons Texas is a top destination to do business.”

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