Partners Announce Aransas County Workforce Development Center with Opening Slated in 2022
Over $2.1 million renovated facility to serve Rockport-Fulton and surrounding communities through job training and other educational opportunities as area continues recovery from Hurricane Harvey and COVID-19
Article by DMC College Relations and Aransas County Public Information Office
The road to recovery is underway as Aransas County moves forward with efforts to revitalize the economy in Rockport-Fulton and surrounding communities. The area first suffered the devastating wrath of Hurricane Harvey in August 2017; and then last year, the coronavirus pandemic hit, further impacting an economy dependent on the tourism industry and the workforce that supports it.
Today, Oct. 7, partners–– including Aransas County, the Aransas County Partnership Economic Development Corporation (ACPEDC), Del Mar College (DMC), the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA), U.S. Congressman Michael Cloud (R-District 27) and other government, business and education leaders––announced the establishment of the Aransas County Workforce Development Center and took preliminary tours of the former Little Bay Primary School, which will house workforce training, Continuing Education, Career and Technical Education and academic courses once renovation is completed next year.
Workforce development is on the top of the workplan list of improvements for our community, and this facility will be the answer many businesses have been wanting over the years. Now, we will need strong collaboration to get the course offerings and enrollment in place. We are excited to assist in making this next step happen for our business community.
The $2,138,731purchase and renovation of the facility includes funding from a $1.7 million U.S. Department of Commerce EDA grant, along with local private fundraising by Aransas County business leaders.
As we recently marked the four-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation, the people of Aransas County have remained tenacious in their efforts to rebuild. I am grateful to have worked with the county and our regional stakeholders, including Del Mar College and Aransas County Partnership Economic Development Corporation, to provide a letter of support for a grant from the Economic Development Administration. I am pleased that this grant will help the area build a workforce training and entrepreneurship center that will enhance workforce development, build private investment opportunities for the area and become a pillar for a thriving local economy.
EDA Regional Director Jorge D. Ayala added by Zoom,“The Economic Development Administration is pleased to support the partnership between Aransas County and Del Mar College to create a new workforce development and entrepreneurship center. This center will provide much needed high-skills training to Rockport and the surrounding area.”
Aransas County and Del Mar College have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the county owning the facility and land while the College operates the workforce development center once renovations are completed next year. The 16,016 square-foot center will include classrooms, labs and additional space and house high-demand marketable skills training for Aransas County and surrounding communities to build a sustainable workforce based on “essential” jobs imperative to residents’ work skills sustainability, entrepreneurial endeavors and career resilience.
The partnership strategically focuses on training that targets occupations identified by the Texas Workforce Commission and Workforce Solutions of the Coastal Bend that meet Aransas County’s local and regional needs, including programs within health sciences, construction trades, public safety, technology, professional enrichment, adult education and communications.
The Aransas County Workforce Development Center is the result of effective partnerships at the local, regional and federal levels, and our common goal at this center is to provide workforce development programs. These programs will offer skills training and education that’s unique to the region, in demand by employers and focused on today’s economy. And they’re available to everyone - young adults seeking a career, adults who want to up-skill and re-skill for essential jobs and those who simply want to re-enter the workforce.
Keas noted that Del Mar College has long been an educational and workforce training partner in Aransas and San Patricio counties, offering dual credit programs in Ingleside, Aransas Pass and Rockport-Fulton high schools.
Dr. Joshua Garcia, Superintendent of Aransas County Independent School District noted, “We are excited for Aransas County, Del Mar College and the Economic Development Administration partnering to create this Workforce Development Center in our community. This will provide more opportunities for our ACISD students to learn valuable trade skills.”
Project renovation for the Aransas County Workforce Development Center was designed by Turner Ramirez Architects. Aransas County officials anticipate the bidding process to occur in January for contract work for the renovation to start early next year.
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.