The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

May 7, 2014

Staples announces grants to expand workforce training, fill demand for skilled workers in Texas

Parallel Pathways to Success grant program applications due June 26

AUSTIN — Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples has announced funding is available for the Parallel Pathways to Success grant program.

The Parallel Pathways is designed to meet the workforce needs of rural Texas communities through the development of educational programs that provide workforce skills and job training. Students will concurrently earn their high school diploma and vocational skills certifications.

Applications are due Thursday, June 26.

“Parallel Pathways helps communities strategically build a strong local economy by ensuring their educational resources are aligned with their workforce needs,” Commissioner Staples said. “Students and our state are more prosperous whenTexans learn 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. Individual grant awards will be no less than $75,000 and a maximum of $125,000. A minimum match of one dollar for every dollar requested must be provided by grant applicants. Applicants must demonstrate how their program will enable students to acquire the skills needed to compete in the local workforce.

“Thanks to the Parallel Pathways grant, students at our alternative high school campus can earn industry-recognized certifications and be better prepared to continue their education or enter the workforce,” Bastrop Independent School District director of career and technology Les Hudson said.

Since its creation in 2009, Parallel Pathways has awarded 12 grants and benefitted nearly 2,000 students across the state, including 201 students who have received technical certifications needed to enter the workforce.

“The Parallel Pathways program has helped start three technical programs that are being shared by multiple school districts,” Northeast Texas Career and Technical Consortium director Mary Park said. “The grant has removed barriers that, for some, would have prevented participation. Funds have been used primarily for tuition, books, toolkits and industry certification exams. It has been great to have access to funds that could be used directly for student aid.”

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