College celebrates funding awards from Texas Workforce Commission


TEXARKANA, Texas — Texarkana College held a ceremony with Texas Workforce Commissioner Aaron Demerson present virtually on Tuesday to sign the checks for $475,000 in funding awarded from TWC to the college.

Texass Workforce Commission recently awarded TC a $187,499 JET Grant for its Nursing programs and a $287,500 Skills Development Fund Grant to provide funds for training in response to the direct needs of the COVID-19 pandemic. Introductions and presentations were made by TC officials before Demerson, via ZOOM call, congratulated the college and signed both checks.

“These grants are a prime example of how Texas will continue to stay ahead of the game and to continue to train our workforce to meet the demands of our Texas employers,” Demerson said. “The employers benefit, the employees benefit and the students benefit, as well.”

The training provided by the $287,500 in SDF funds will target business partners retooling business processes to respond to the need of COVID-19 related necessities, as well as those businesses that are retooling to provide continuing employment to employees. Approximately $2,000 will be made available per qualifying participant.

Eligible industries for the grant include, but are not limited to, medical and healthcare, critical manufacturing, telecommunications, hospitality, information technology systems, financial, defense, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, energy, water and wastewater.

“In the past several months, this award has allowed us to respond to the pressing training needs facing Texas businesses in our service area, due to the impact of COVID,” said Mendy Sharp, executive director of Community & Business Education. “These funds have been used to partner with a variety of business operations and industry clusters in our service area that have essential workers, in order to provide both general technical training and business technical training.”

The $187,499 JET Grant funds are aimed towards helping the college purchase and install equipment to provide Associate Degree Nursing students and Licensed Vocational Nursing students with training to support theoretical and clinical nursing knowledge and skills. The funds are meant to enable students to develop and master patient care skills in safe and professional classroom and laboratory settings.

“In the grant contract, we set a goal of having 207 individual nursing students use the equipment we purchased with grant funds,” said Courtney Shoalmire, dean of the Health Sciences division. “We were able to overcome the obstacles created by COVID and exceeded our goal by 13 students, for a total of 220 unduplicated students using the equipment to date.”

TC President Dr. Jason Smith gave his thanks to Demerson and TWC for the funds provided to the institution.

“The Texas Workforce Commission has been a partner with Texarkana College over the last decade, and we are so incredibly grateful for the support and confidence in our institution to lead the charge in workforce training for our region, with partner businesses and industries,” Smith said.

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