Coastal Bend and Del Mar College awarded funds from Texas Reskilling and Upskilling for Education

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BEEVILLE – Coastal Bend College (CBC) and Del Mar College (DMC) jointly announced they were awarded of $842,871 from the Texas Reskilling and Upskilling for Education (TRUE) Grant by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board from the Governor's Emergency Educational Relief (GEER) Fund.

The goal of the TRUE Grant is to increase educational offerings that lead to high-value credentials that is needed in the local and state economy. Through this collaboration, residents of Jim Wells County and surrounding areas will have access to trainings, at no cost, that lead to well-paying in demand occupations identified on the Targeted Occupation List by Workforce Solutions of the Coastal Bend. These trainings will start in January for both colleges.

“American writer Jim Stovall, said, ‘You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their success, and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help one another, everybody wins.’ The TRUE Grant embodies this mindset in which all of the surrounding areas of Alice and Jim Wells County benefit from the efforts of Coastal Bend College and Del Mar College,” said Dr. Justin Hoggard CBC College President.

As part of the collaboration, DMC will receive $200,000, while CBC will receive $842,871. TRUE Institutional Capacity Grant funding awarded to Coastal Bend College by the Coordinating Board. Together CBC and DMC will provide Jim Wells County residents, including Alice and surrounding communities, specific workforce training at CBC’s Alice Center and will focus on skills taught through both college’s Continuing Education programs.

“Del Mar College has collaborated with Coastal Bend College on other initiatives to ensure South Texas residents have the best workforce training opportunities available in our part of the state,” said Dr. Mark Escamilla, DMC President and Chief Executive Officer. “The TRUE Institutional Capacity Grant expands both college’s ability to target specific workforce skills training and prepare individuals for high demand jobs in our region. At the same time, together, we’re meeting the charge set forth by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to mobilize community, technical and junior colleges to reskill and upskill our workforce to fortify Texas’ economy now and for years to come.”

“Coastal Bend College's Department of Continuing Education, through the TRUE Grant, is working to help fill the shortages in the healthcare field by training people, at no cost to the individual, to become certified phlebotomists, Certified Nurse Assistants (CNA), and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT),” said Braden Becknell, CBC’s Director of Workforce Development and Continuing Education. “Each of these programs train individuals to enter the workforce and/or continue with their education to pursue a nursing degree, “ added Becknell.

The need for training healthcare workers is demonstrated by the projected growth of all three programs, ranging from 11 to 26% percent. Healthcare workforce shortages have grown at an exponential rate around the country during the pandemic, specifically in rural areas. The EMT program will take approximately six months from start to finish, while the Phlebotomy and CNAA program will take 12-16 weeks.

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Starting in January, students can commence registering for programs in the healthcare field through the Department of Continuing Education, including Phlebotomy, CNA, and EMT, in addition to no cost for the program, students will be able to use the state-of-the-art equipment or practice for real-world health care scenarios seen in the field.

Construction trade skills are in high demand across the Coastal Bend, and employment indicators for the region signify the field as one of the top ten fastest growing industries with projected growth of nearly 40% from 2018 to 2028. DMC will address this workforce demand by offering short-term trades programs, including carpentry (basic), electrical wiring, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), plumbing (basic) and welding.

The construction trade skills courses range from four to 16 weeks at no cost to participants with many courses to begin in January.

DMC instruction will utilize face-to-face or hybrid models due to the importance of hands-on training. Both the welding and HVAC programs lead to convertible DMC Continuing Education Workforce Skills Awards (WSAs) that matriculate into the College’s existing Level I certificate programs. Additionally, the carpentry, electrical wiring and plumbing programs lead to students earning WSAs, but they’ll also earn an industry-based credential from the National Home Builders Association upon completing an industry-specific assessment.

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“DMC utilizes state-of-the-art technology, equipment and simulators that provide students with practical ‘real world’ training aligned with industry demands,” noted Dr. Leonard Rivera, Dean of DMC Continuing Education & Off-Campus Programs. “Our Construction Program gives students a fast-tracked entry point into the workforce, allows them to earn Workforce Skills Awards that ‘stack’ toward DMC Level I certificate credit programs and provides the opportunity for students to pursue further training toward a Level II certificate or associate’s degree while they continue to work in their chosen field.”

He added, “That’s a winning combination for our region and the State of Texas.”