TAMU-CC, DMC to Share $650K Texas Reskilling Grant to Support Local Workforce Demands

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and Del Mar College, partners dedicated to enhancing educational access and opportunity for students throughout the Coastal Bend, are proud to share a $650,000 Texas Reskilling Support Fund Grant through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The money is part of the CARES Act of 2020.

The Texas Reskilling Support Fund Grant Program is a $46.5 million fund established to provide essential emergency educational support (tuition and fees) to students who have been most significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and aid in the continuation of their education and economic recovery. The grant is intended to support displaced Texas workers who need to reskill or upskill to get back into the workforce and Texas students who have previously “stopped out” of higher education institutions without completing a postsecondary credential.

“Each of our institutions has a mission to disseminate knowledge and prepare students for workforce entry, continued academic study, or professional practice,” Andy Benoit, TAMU-CC vice president of enrollment management, said. “These focuses align with the needs of the community and are the primary factors for the creation of the partnership outlined in the grant.”

The $650,000 will support 250 students each at TAMU-CC and DMC, along with a full-time program coordinator who shares a joint appointment to the financial aid directors at the institutions.

The grant application notes that the programs and degrees that will benefit from this funding include those that most align with Workforce Solutions of the Coastal Bend’s targeted occupation list for 2019-2021. The programs and degrees directly correlate with high employment demands in six career areas including business, healthcare, occupational health and safety, engineering/computer science, public service, and professional skills/trade industry. Moreover, according to Texas Labor Market Intelligence reports, significant growth is forecasted through 2028 in these areas of study.

In most cases, DMC students can complete the programs within six to 12 months or combine with similar programs to fulfill DMC certificate or associate’s degree requirements that can then be applied or transferred toward a baccalaureate degree from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

“I can’t think of a better way to re-ignite the Coastal Bend economy than to educate and reskill our area’s workforce through a collaboration that provides a pipeline of highly prepared workers to not only sustain current business operations but, more importantly, also prepare the region for further growth to come in the months and years ahead,” Leonard Rivera, Ph.D., dean of DMC Continuing Education and Off-campus Programs, said. “As business and industry grow, so does the demand for more skilled workers, resulting in competitive wages and benefits and an overall better standard of living.”

Awarding parameters for students include priority for those who have started a program but did not finish, those who submitted the FAFSA, and those who qualify for federal, state, and other types of financial aid. Students who qualify for this aid will also work with the program’s outreach coordinator to receive access to academic and non-academic support such as tutoring, career placement, food pantry, disability service, etc.

“The outreach coordinator is the link between our institutions,” Benoit said. “They will spend time on both our campuses and assist in the identification, enrollment, and persistence of each student and will assist in recording the metrics of success of the program.”

In addition, program faculty will provide students with specific career occupation advising and guidance in accordance with the skills demanded by business and industry to ensure successful program completion.

“Our partnership with TAMU-CC to ‘reskill’ students for high value careers in the Coastal Bend exemplifies how both institutions’ academic programs and support resources can collaboratively benefit the region,” Rivera said. “Del Mar College is pleased to work with the university on another initiative that will directly impact our region’s workforce.”

The grant funding period runs from February 2021 through February 2022.

Interested TAMU-CC students should contact finaid@tamucc.edu (or call 361.825.2338) to inquire about participation, while interested DMC students should email enroll@delmar.edu (or call 361.698.1290).

Click here to read the release from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.