TC receives grant to help Workforce Education students

Five grants awarded to provide hands-on workforce training in rural Texas communities
AUSTIN – Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples today announced five grants totaling $500,000 were awarded through the Parallel Pathways to Success Grant Program (Parallel Pathways), which is designed to meet the workforce needs of rural Texas communities. Grant recipients will provide educational opportunities for students to receive training through certification programs that will help them garner the skills needed to be successful at directly entering the workforce.
“The Parallel Pathways program helps communities align their educational resources with the workforce needs of their local economy,” Commissioner Staples said. “Texas students deserve the opportunity to acquire the skills they need to pursue successful careers, whether that is achieved through direct career training or a traditional college route. By ensuring our future workforce has the skills employers need, we are not only creating a qualified workforce but encouraging economic development in our rural communities.”
Demand for skilled workers continues to grow as the Texas economy flourishes. Commissioner Staples established the Parallel Pathways program in 2009 and has funded it with agency administrative efficiency savings. With this round of grants, the program has awarded more than $1.7 million in funding, which has leveraged $4.6 million in total investment to educate more than 9300 students with career-preparation training.
Parallel Pathways grants are awarded through a competitive process, where applicants are evaluated based on how their program will enable students to acquire the expertise needed to compete in the local workforce. Grant recipients are required to contribute a minimum match of one dollar for every dollar of grant money requested.
“Without the support of the Texas Department of Agriculture and the Parallel Pathways grant, rural areas and organizations like ours would struggle,” said Judith Hetherly, board president of the Education Foundation for the Lampasas County Higher Education Center (LCHEC). “This is training that benefits us all.”
Parallel Pathways grant recipients include:
Education Foundation for the Lampasas County Higher Education Center (LCHEC), $120,000: This grant will assist students in achieving workforce skills prior to graduating from high school. LCHEC offers allied health programs to high school juniors and seniors with the provision that they earn their high school diploma or GED. Programs offered help students receive training to qualify as a clinical medical assistant, dental assistant, EKG technician, medical administrative assistant, medical billing and coding specialist, pharmacy technician or phlebotomy technician.
Grayson College, $90,000: Partners in Advance College Education(ACE) is collaboration between school districts in the Grayson College service area, local industry participants and Workforce Solutions Texoma. A pilot project is being developed in conjunction with the opening of Tioga High School and its career tech program. Through the program, students can earn workforce certificates in welding, heating, air conditioning and refrigeration technology.
Palestine Independent School District, $110,000: Palestine High School will prepare students with hands-on, practical experience in a learning lab and through an internship scenario. Students will earn industry-recognized certifications. Available certifications include: CPR/first aid, certified nurse’s aide, dental assisting, pharmacy technician, veterinarian technician, business, cosmetology and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training. 
Terrell Independent School District, $60,000: The program will provide participating students hands-on training and classroom instruction at Terrell High School, Trinity Valley Community College and local healthcare establishments. Certifications programs include: nursing assistant, clinical medical assistant, EKG technician, pharmacy technician, phlebotomy technician and sterile products certification.
Texarkana College, $120,000: The program will sponsor and provide training to area students in diesel and welding technology. Students will take dual credit courses. The program will work to increase the number of students who receive higher education credentials in the area.
To learn more about Parallel Pathways, click here.


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