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Fast-track to the workforce … Del Mar College receives $500,000 TRUE grant for equipment and programs to reskill, upskill Coastal Bend workers

DMC among 46 Texas public community, technical and junior colleges sharing $26 million from THECB to provide short-term workforce training and credentials to fortify state’s economy

Article by Melinda Eddleman


The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) is mobilizing the state’s public community, technical and junior colleges to help fast-track residents into the workforce. Through the Texas Reskilling and Upskilling through Education (TRUE) Institutional Capacity Grant, 46 of the state’s two-year colleges are sharing $26 million to assist students impacted by COVID-19 by providing short-term postsecondary workforce credentials and training programs that target high-demand fields to fortify Texas’ economy.

Del Mar College (DMC) “officially received notice” before Thanksgiving from the Coordinating Board that its Continuing Education (CE) Division has been awarded a $500,000TRUE Grant, which the College will use to purchase equipment and provide retro-fitted training on the College’s Windward Campus and to residents in Aransas County and surrounding communities when renovations are completed on the new Aransas County Workforce Development Center announced in early October in Rockport.

The TRUE Grant runs through Sept. 30, 2022.

THECB funding for the TRUE Grant comes from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund, which originates from the U.S. Department of Education’s Education Stabilization Fund in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020.

The TRUE Grant allows Del Mar College to provide career training through innovative short-term educational programming that individuals can complete within three to six months or less, lead to a state or national industry certification and a DMC Workforce Skills Award as well as allow all completed coursework to ‘stack’ or convert toward other related Del Mar certificates and associates degree programs. Simply stated, the College can prepare individuals for careers quickly and precisely with the requisite job skills and credentials required by industry for immediate employment.  And, the best part of this initiative is this grant covers all tuition and fees for the targeted programs of study.
Dr. Leonard Rivera, DMC Dean of Continuing Education & Off-Campus Programs

The College’s CE programs selected for short-term training in Corpus Christi and Aransas County align with Workforce Solutions of the Coastal Bend’s Targeted Occupations List for 2019-2021 and trends outlined by the Texas Workforce Commission for both Texas and the Coastal Bend. These programs correlate with high demand for employment, including:

  • Healthcare: Certified Nurse Aid, Electrocardiography, Medical Billing and Coding, Medical Secretary, Patient Care Technician and Phlebotomy
  • Professional Skills: Accounting Clerk (Bookkeeper), Geographic Information Systems, Legal Secretary, Management Development (Supervision) and Supply Chain Management
  • Trade Industry: Automotive, Building Maintenance, Carpentry (Basic), Electrical Wiring, HVAC, Millwright, Plumbing (Basic) and Welding

These short-term programs range from four to 16 weeks to complete, and programmatic sequencing allows students to on-board into specific study fields without prior knowledge or skills development. Additionally, these CE programs, whether they provide certification or WSAs (Workforce Skills Awards), allow students to gain immediate employment during or upon completion.

The College offers various modalities of course delivery, including face-to-face, remote or E-learning and hybrid formats. Mode of delivery is dictated by industry certification or licensing requirements that mandate hands-on training as well as curriculum, laboratories, tools/equipment utilization, simulators and software associated with each program.

Already part of a TRUE pilot program initiated earlier this year by the Texas Association of Community College’s Texas Success Center, Del Mar College received an “Award of Excellence” on Nov. 4 for its participation in the precursory effort to streamline CE programming to put Texas residents on the fast-track into the workforce.

With the funds the TRUE Grant provides and the pilot program now completed, the infrastructure for that track is now laid at Del Mar College.

“This grant’s impact is enormous for the Coastal Bend as we continue to recover from the pandemic’s effect on our workforce and as we work toward further economic development in our region,” noted Dr. Rivera. “By preparing individuals with training that aligns with in-demand jobs available now and those we anticipate in the future, we can address the needs of employers representing healthcare, construction and manufacturing and the challenges they experience identifying skilled workers, especially as patient workloads increase in area healthcare facilities; home, apartment and retail developments continue expanding; and increased demands stretch availability of petro-chemical and other supplies among our regional manufacturing plants.”

He added, “The TRUE Grant will increase our pipeline of skilled workers produced for the industries identified with the most current needs. But, we always have our eyes on the future, and we’ll adjust to train the Coastal Bend’s workforce as those demands shift.”

To learn more about CE Fast Track Career Training Programs in general and those covered by the TRUE Grant, visit www.delmar.edu/ce or directly contact DMC Continuing Education at 361-698-2122 or ce@delmar.edu.


VISUAL ASSETS: DMC Continuing Education's Construction Program and the skills training it provides is among the fields in high demand across the Coastal Bend. Below are visual assets from the Home Wiring course among electrical training that individuals can take at no cost due to funds provided by the TRUE Grant. Students completed assignments in class at the College's Center for Ecopnomic  Development on Nov. 30. All photos were taken by the College Relations Office Digital Services team. (Click on each photo to enlarge, read cutlines and to download.)

About Del Mar College

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.