DMC and Continuing Education Programs Receive Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s 2022 Star Award
College recognized for CE training programs to reskill, upskill Coastal Bend workforce to support local economy, state’s strategic plan using TRUE Grant; Continuing Education recognized 110 TRUE Grant completers in September for 2021-2022 training
Article by Melinda Eddleman
The award recognizes exceptional contributions toward meeting one or more goals of the state’s strategic plan, Building a Talent Strong Texas. Del Mar College (DMC) and its Continuing Education (CE) & Off-Campus Programs Division was one of five state institutions that received the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s prestigious Star Award for 2022 during the THECB’s Leadership Conference held in Austin Dec. 7-8.
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Star Award recognizes the best-of-the-best among innovative and transformational education programs across more than 100 public institutions of higher education in Texas. Del Mar College is proud to be among the very few to receive a 2022 Star Award and the acknowledgement of our Continuing Education to Credit stackable process that regardless of students’ academic backgrounds enables them to enroll in and complete fast-track, workforce-based programs that lead to Workforce Skills Awards and industry-based credentials in only a few months.
Additional 2022 Star Award recipients include two other community colleges––Amarillo College and San Jacinto College––as well as the University of Houston and The University of Texas at Arlington.
Award criteria focus on the state’s strategic goals to build the workforce and include the following categories:
• increasing attainment of postsecondary credentials for adult learners by expanding work-based learning programs and a broader array of short-term credentials.
• streamlining academic and career pathways through innovative courses, program redesign and enhanced support services that lead to increased credentials of value and allow for upward social mobility while addressing the state’s workforce needs.
• increasing opportunity and affordability through strategic uses of financial aid programs and making the cost of postsecondary education more transparent.
• aligning applied research and development efforts with state economic and workforce development priorities, particularly in fields with high current or projected demand.
The College’s revamping of its CE workforce training programs fit the criteria to meet the state’s goals.
In November 2021, DMC Continuing Education received a $500,000 Texas Reskilling and Upskilling through Education (TRUE) Institutional Capacity Grant from the Coordinating Board to assist students impacted by COVID-19 by providing short-term postsecondary workforce credentials and training programs that target high-demand fields that fortify Texas’ economy. The College’s division also received the following month another $200,000 through Coastal Bend College (CBC) as part of a collaborative TRUE Grant award to train individuals for high-demand jobs in the Beeville area.
This past September, the College and DMC Continuing Education recognized 110 students––including about 10 from the CBC collaboration––who completed training and earned Workforce Skills Awards (WSAs) in CE healthcare and trade industry programs, including Certified Nurse Aide, Electrocardiography, Medical Billing and Coding, Medical Secretary, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning), Welding, Carpentry, House Wiring, Plumbing and Construction IBC.
The College’s CE programs served over 150 individuals overall during the grant award period, which ran through Sept. 30.
By working with Workforce Solutions of the Coastal Bend and other community and industry partners, DMC Continuing Education created post-secondary credentials of value for local targeted occupations in the area. This collaborative work resulted with the redesign and alignment of short-term credentials that over the past year prepared Continuing Education students for employment and increased accessibility to credit courses, meaning these “stackable” courses take an industry-based credential and open the door for students to progress to a Level 1 certificate and ultimately to an associate’s degree.
“The CE to Credit stackable process has revolutionized a student’s ability to receive in-demand workforce skills training in small steps or milestones that promote employability in a matter of weeks or months rather than in years—all without losing progress toward earning an associate’s degree or higher,” noted Dr. Rivera.
This stackable education model has not only placed Del Mar College into a leadership position of innovative programming among Texas colleges and universities, it is propelling Del Mar College onto the national stage in higher education as well.
In July, the College received $200,000 from another TRUE Grant in partnership with Coastal Bend College from the Coordinating Board and will continue to prepare residents for the South Texas and Coastal Bend workforce.
Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.