Texas Border Business
McALLEN, Texas – South Texas College will soon have a new home for its Continuing Education department thanks to a $1.5 million grant.
The grant awarded by the Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA), American Rescue Plan Economic Adjustment Assistance Program sets the wheels in motion for a new facility dedicated to career preparation, pathways, customized corporate training as well as professional education and development for students.
The grant will be matched with $375,000 from STC and is expected to create 650 jobs.
“This will be an exciting addition to our family of state-of the-art facilities at STC that are changing long-held beliefs about what a college should be,” said STC President Ricardo J. Solis, Ph.D. “Continuing Education will be at the very forefront of our innovative efforts to prepare those who want to get into the skilled workforce as soon as possible, and meet the needs of our industry partners who are needing us to graduate skilled students faster with shorter certificates and diplomas.”
The grant will aid in the construction of a new 24,500 square-foot building consisting of general classrooms, health care labs, a computer lab, testing center, registration area, lobby and building support spaces.
STC’s Student Assessment Center, which provides entrance examinations for students including the Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSIA) Exam, the American College Test (ACT) and General Educational Development (GED) will also be relocated to the new facility.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo said this grant is a commitment to create new workforce opportunities.
“President Biden is committed to creating new opportunities for workforce advancement for Americans across the country,” Raimondo said in a statement. “This EDA investment in South Texas College will provide upskilling and workforce development leading to good-paying jobs and new economic opportunities for local residents.”
The construction phase of the project is estimated to take 14-16 months to complete, and will be located west of the existing Pecan campus.
“The Economic Development Administration’s investment in South Texas College is a boon for the Rio Grande Valley and Texans enrolling in continuing education training programs,” said Texas Governor Greg Abbott in a statement. “With this support, Texas will continue offering the best educational opportunities to our students and developing a highly skilled, diverse workforce to meet the needs of our economy and communities.”
Plans are currently in place to house all Continuing Education resources including GED programs, health care programs, computer classes and real estate courses on the first floor of the new facility. A second floor is slated to house STC’s future school of cosmetology.
New programs such as a fiber optics technician course and insurance agent program are on the horizon, according to Director of Professional and Workforce Education Olivia De La Rosa.
“We continue to grow and we’re excited because we have new programs coming on board,” De La Rosa said. “Right now, the demand has increased for quick credentials. Students want to get a skill, learn something new, get a certification and get a job, so that’s what we’ll do; we’ll meet that demand.”