TEXARKANA, Texas (KTAL) – Two grants totaling about $1 million are now available to help Texarkana College train and retain area workers.
“It’s a big opportunity for us to continue to develop our people and continue to help with our training systems at the facility,” said Mark Bruyns, Graphic Packaging Operations Manager.
The grants were awarded by the Texas Workforce Commission. More than $780,000 is earmarked for job creation and skill strengthening of hundreds of Graphic Packaging employees. Officials said a large portion of that facility’s workforce is rapidly reaching retirement age.
“This grant’s going to allow those individuals that are going to be taking their place to gain the skills needed to keep up with industry need,” said Texas Workforce Commissioner Julian Alvarez. “So, it’s really important.”
“Young people will be trained that will be able to obtain jobs that they may never have been able to obtain otherwise, so it’s huge,” said Rep. Gary VanDeaver, District 1.
The college also received a Jobs and Education for Texans grant. Those funds will help Texarkana College purchase equipment, like transmissions and braking systems, to teach students diesel technology at the TexAmericas Center campus.
“Any advances in technology really comes back from our local employers that serve on our advisory boards that give a direction on what to teach our students that are enrolled here,” said Brandon Washington, Dean of Workforce and Community & Business Education.
Officials say that community collaboration sets our region apart.
“It makes it very attractive for these companies that are actually looking at coming into Texas, that we do have a skilled workforce ready to go from day one,” said Alvarez. “And what I love about this area, you all have always been proactive in the training approach and not reactive.”
Texarkana College officials said nearly 1,000 students will be directly impacted by the training opportunities provided by the grants this year.