MCALLEN, RGV – Carlos Margo, associate dean for industrial training and economic development at South Texas College, has given a shout-out to the Texas Workforce Commission.
In particular, Margo has thanked TWC Commissioner Julian Alvarez, and the agency’s apprenticeship director, Desi Holmes. Margo said TWC had recently approved a grant totaling almost $200,000 for STC.
“It is called the Apprenticeship Texas grant. We submitted the application through our local workforce development board. The grant will allow us to provide apprenticeship programs, both for youths and adults, and it will also pay for some of the tuition and fees associated with the college portion of apprenticeship training,” Margo said.
Margo said the apprenticeship program STC is overseeing is still in development.
“We have not yet decided which companies will benefit. We anticipate working with about four or five local employers. I do want to emphasis the fact that the Texas Workforce Commission and its state apprenticeship office, led by Desi Holmes, was very instrumental in helping us establish ourselves as an apprenticeship training provider,” Margo said.
“I also want to give thanks to our workforce commissioner Julian Alvarez who has initiated a lot of the interest in apprenticeship training here locally. He was the one who first told us that the Valley had to consider apprenticeship training. His foresight told us that this is a movement nationwide that is not going to go away anytime soon.”
Margo pointed out that President Trump signed an executive order about a year and a half ago that gave a mandate to the nation to expand apprenticeship programs in the United States.
“So, the Texas Workforce Commission helped us become a registered apprenticeship sponsor. They served as a conduit between ourselves and the apprenticeship office of the Department of Labor,” Margo explained.
“The Department of Labor is very close to Desi Holmes and her teams. Desi stepped up and said South Texas College is at the forefront of apprenticeship training, that we need to get them registered. She he helped us make it happen. Julian was overseeing the entire process as well. Soon, thereafter, we got ourselves registered.”
Asked how much STC was receiving for apprenticeships, Margo said:
“Close to $200,000. It will help us develop new apprenticeship programs, it will help us provide tuition and fees, and it will help the workforce development board provide outreach for the program.
“Kudos to Texas Workforce Commission for having confidence in STC and our apprenticeship program. The funding helps tremendously at this point. When it is a brand new program like an apprenticeship and we get a funding grant from the Texas Workforce Commission, it is very helpful.”
Margo was quick to point out that the new grant is not connected to the recent rollout of an apprenticeship pilot program initiated by McAllen ISD and STC, with assistance from the McAllen Chamber of Commerce.
“McAllen ISD agreed to pay for that pilot program. If they decide to do a phase two, which I am sure they will, perhaps some of these new funds will help offset some of the tuition fees for that program. McAllen ISD has paved the way. They went through all the bumps and bruises. So, I am going to try to get them as much funding as possible.”
Asked which industries might benefit from the almost $200,000 grant, Margo said: “Right now I am focusing on manufacturing, hospitality/tourism, culinary, automotive and air conditioning. I do not want to get too broad, too soon. I just want to get some good quality programs underway.”
Margo announced the TWC grant at a check-signing ceremony. The Development Corporation of McAllen, Inc., provided South Texas College with $259,440 for workforce training.
“We are pleased to recognize the City of McAllen’s continued contribution to supporting workforce training in McAllen. They do it using STC as the training provider,” Margo said. “I commend the mayor and the city commission for their confidence in STC through the years. This has been going on for over 20 years. We will wisely invest in workforce training for incumbent manufacturing employees.”