TWC Commissioner Alvarez Presents Nearly $900,000 in Grant Funding to Rio Grande Valley-Area

Date: Jan. 31, 2020

Media Contact: Cisco Gamez
Phone: 512-463-8556

Five Separate Grants Awarded to Local Institutions

AUSTIN ⎯ The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has awarded five individual grants: two Skills Development Fund grants of $133,903 to Texas State Technical College Harlingen in partnership with Fisher and Company Inc., and $143,332 to Texas State Technical College in partnership with SpawGlass Contractors Inc.; one $300,000 Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) grant to Brownsville ISD; one $191,868 Dual Credit, Job-Training Grant to Brownsville ISD; and one $125,850 Self Sufficiency Fund job-training grant to Cameron County Education Initiative Inc. (CCCEI). These grants will benefit workers in the Workforce Solutions Cameron area.

“Being from the area I know firsthand what gamechangers these grants can be in the lives of local workers and students,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “Presenting these grants reflects the state’s ongoing commitment to employee development and helping Texas workers find rewarding careers and not just jobs.” 

TSTC, in partnership with Fisher and Company Inc., and in partnership with SpawGlass Contractors Inc., will use the $133,903 and $143,332 to provide custom training to new and incumbent workers in the manufacturing and construction industries. Trainees will include maintenance mechanics, press operators, quality inspectors, masons and welders. Upon completion of training, the workers will receive an average hourly wage of $17.62.

Since its inception in 1996, the Skills Development Fund grants have created or upgraded more than 385,633 jobs throughout Texas. The grants have assisted 4,522 employers with their customized training needs. The Legislature allocated $48 million to the Skills Development Fund for the 2018-19 biennium. Employers seeking more information about the Skills Development Fund may visit the TWC website at

In addition,TWC awarded a JET grant of $300,000 to Brownsville ISD. The funds will be used to purchase and install equipment to provide students with training for careers in robotics.

The Jobs and Education for Texans grant program allocates funds each biennium to defray start-up costs associated with the development of career and technical education programs to public community and technical colleges, and independent school districts. Equipment funded through JET grants must be used to train students for jobs in high-demand occupations.

TWC also awarded Brownsville ISD a $191,868 Dual Credit, job-training grant. The Dual Credit grant will be used to support a newly established Dual Credit Program by purchasing new equipment for classes in construction technology and mill and cabinet making. Students will be able to earn certificates in Construction Technology.

Dual credit and technical education programs are funded in an effort to respond to industry demands for skilled workers in technical fields. High school students can enroll in postsecondary classes, while simultaneously completing high school coursework. This gives students the ability to get a jumpstart on their education or career goals as they earn credits toward a degree or professional credential while still in school.

TWC presented CCEI a $125,850 Self Sufficiency Fund training grant to help 60 individuals transition into the workforce. The grant will help provide job training skills for occupations in construction such as pipefitters and scaffolding workers. Specifically, this grant will provide training in pipefitting to a cohort of ten females with non-violent felony charges. Completion of the program will be reported to the Diversion Court, and ongoing case management will be provided to all trainees, along with additional training in soft skills, and assistance with attending job fairs.

The Self Sufficiency Fund provides funding to eligible training providers including nonprofit 501(c)(3) community-based organizations, Texas public community or technical colleges, or the Texas Engineering Extension Service. The Self Sufficiency Fund pays for curriculum development, instructor fees and certifications, training materials, certain work-related expenses for trainees, and some training equipment for targeted industry clusters.

TSTC Harlingen Contact: Valeri Smith, 254-867-2038, vdsmith@tstc.edu

Brownsville ISD Contact: Dr. Greg Garcia, greggarcia@bisd.us, 956-367-1536

CCEI contact:  Dr. Rita Hernandez, Rhernandez@myccei.org, 956-641-4800

WFS Cameron contact:  Pat Hobbs, pat.hobbs@wfscameron.org, 956-548-6700

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The Texas Workforce Commission is a state agency dedicated to helping Texas employers, workers and communities prosper economically. For details on TWC and the services it offers in coordination with its network of local workforce development boards, call 512-463-8942 or visit www.texasworkforce.org. To receive notifications about TWC programs and services subscribe to our email updates.