JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
MARBLE FALLS — Central Texas College received a $208,000 grant from the Texas Workforce Commission to make paying for higher education easier for income-eligible students living in Burnet and Llano counties.
An information meeting is 5:30-6:30 p.m. July 27 at the Boys & Girls Club of the Highland Lakes-Marble Falls unit, 1701 Broadway St.
Along with the core courses already available at CTC, the grant helps cover the costs of classes for certified nurses aide, clinical medical assistant, basic culinary, front desk and commercial housekeeping.
Multiple people will be at the information session to answer questions, said Gail Davalos, founder of Mickey West Career Assets, a charitable fund designed to eliminate the void between worker skills and employer needs.
“It’s efficient to get all the right people in the same room,” she said. “We’ll talk about the grant, how they can apply. We’ll talk about all five classes, then break out into areas of interest.”
The targeted group consists of U.S. citizens who are permanent residents ages 18 and older and who have financial needs.
“Low-income, low-wage workers and job seekers,” Davalos said. “We’re looking for adults in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s.”
The grant pays for training costs for those receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program benefits and for a parent making less than $37,000.
Davalos said educators are working to fill the needs of employers in the Highland Lakes.
“This is about a workforce that’s developed and with ready workers,” Davalos said. “Our employers are feeling a big gap between a full-time labor force that has the knowledge and skills to do that.”
And it’s also about helping the working poor, those who have jobs with low pay and may not have benefits but are ready to train for a career.
As people get better jobs because of their training and education, their wages increase. Employers have dependable hardworking employees, helping their businesses flourish. And the local economy benefits because residents can set roots with permanent housing, buy big-money items such as vehicles locally and shop for other needs in the community. That, in turn, helps community leaders draw more businesses to the area because a strong labor force that’s properly trained and willing to work is very attractive to business owners.
“We’re following a model of what’s been done in other communities,” Davalos said.
Three classes begin Aug. 7 with the other two starting Sept. 14.
Davalos said she was encouraged after the last information session in April. Fifty people attended and 25 enrolled in classes.
Call Davalos at (830) 265-8024 or her colleague Celia Merrill at (830) 385-2601 for more information.