EDA awards $1.7 million grant – Workforce Growth and Entrepreneurship Heart on approach | Information


The United States Congressional Delegation to Aransas County announced on Tuesday, January 19, that Aransas County, in partnership with Del Mar College and the Aransas County Partnership Economic Development Corporation, has received a US Department of Commerce grant for economic development of 1, Received $ 7 million.

The award will assist Aransas County in the acquisition and renovation of an existing building that will house a human resource development and entrepreneurship center.

The facility is located on the Highway 35 bus. N., near high school. It will consist of around 16,000 square meters of classrooms, laboratories and additional space.

Aransas County plans to acquire the property and begin renovations this year. The project should take about 18 months.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $ 2,138,731

The establishment of this center is a crucial element of the community’s economic development program to diversify the economy, build resilience and promote sustainable businesses through regional workforce training. A human resources development program is expected to create, maintain and maintain a viable workforce while aligning local business needs with the skills of the workforce. The program will also facilitate the learning of marketable skills, create career paths and advancement, while building career awareness through education. It is expected that skilled workers will be associated with employers, local entrepreneurs will be created and certain types of business will be targeted.

Since Hurricane Harvey, Aransas County and its partners in the community have worked diligently on infrastructure grants and other approaches to facilitate recovery and strengthen the economy.

Aransas County Judge, CH “Burt” Mills Jr., said, “Establishing a workforce development center is an important step in recovery from the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey. This project would not have been possible without the strong commitment of our Economic Development Corporation and Del Mar College. “

“Aransas County has come a long way since Hurricane Harvey and further recovery depends on economic development and reconstruction. I was pleased to write a letter of support for this scholarship last year as it will bring vital training for workers to our district while stimulating private investment. I look forward to the resulting economic growth in the region, ”said US Congressman Michael Cloud.

US Senator John Cornyn said, “With the help of the community, resilience and hard work, Texans have come a long way since Hurricane Harvey hit. Scars of its devastation are still showing all over our state. I am grateful for this federal scholarship to Aransas County to improve local workforce training and create local jobs. “

Russell Franques of the Texas A&M Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center identified this grant opportunity last spring. The center worked with the community on economic recovery in partnership with IC2 at the University of Texas at Austin and facilitated a series of community meetings and focus groups called Communities as a Start-Up. Human resources development is also included in the economic development action plan adopted by the municipality, as well as the long-term recovery plan. At the request of the Aransas County Alliance Local Government Corporation, the Aransas County Partnership EDC, chaired by John Jackson, formed a grant exploratory team to provide advice with Long Term Recovery and Del Mar College on and with them on project feasibility, spatial planning and the Scope of projects to work together work and educational programming. The Aransas County Long Term Recovery Team wrote and submitted the application.

“I was honored to chair the EDC Exploratory Committee for this workforce development dream,” said Jackson. “At the start of the process (last June) our handpicked committee of 12 local interest groups visited the west campus of Del Mar College and was literally amazed at the quality of the programs and facilities here in our backyard.

“That day saw the foundation of a solid partnership with Del Mar College to bring this education and expertise to Aransas County. This has been recognized as a critical achievement for the EDC and Aransas County for generations. “

Jackson and local hotel owner Jatin Bhakta ran an aggressive private fundraiser to reach the 20% match required for the grant. The goal was achieved within two weeks thanks to the phenomenal response and support from individual, foundation and corporate contributions.

Aransas County has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Del Mar College for the operation of the Workforce Development Center. The county retains ownership of the building and the land on it. Del Mar College has well-established, proven programs and expertise to operate, and has established business relationships in the Coastal Bend area.

Del Mar College Executive Vice President and COO Lenora Keas said, “We welcome the opportunity to work with Aransas County, the EDC and community leaders to offer local human resource development programs. Unique in the region, these programs are in demand by employers, and focus on what is required to be successful in today’s economy.

“As a graduate of Rockport-Fulton High School (RFHS), I personally value this opportunity and see the challenges faced by young people leaving high school. The courses offered at Rockport equip people of all ages with the skills for a high-paying job, personal gain, or entry-level course to advance toward college. “

The expected participation in the programs includes: high school students, young adults, those currently employed and looking to improve their skills, those who are employed but lack the skills they need in the changing economy, and even those who wish to return to the workforce.

Del Mar plans to offer college / double credit courses, certifications, continuing education, apprenticeships and internships.

Initial course offerings are expected to be in the fields of health sciences and allied health, geotechnical engineering, industrial technology, maritime programs, public safety, and the arts.

Aransas County’s Independent School District (ACISD) has an existing relationship with Del Mar College at RFHS and looks forward to this expanded education and training opportunity.

The ACISD superintendent, Dr. Joshua Garcia said, “This is an incredible opportunity for ACISD students to earn industry-based certifications that are tailored to our needs in the community.”

Diane Probst, President / CEO of the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, noted that people development has come up every time during various strategic planning meetings over the years.

“It is really exciting to hear that the EDA is providing the necessary funds to implement this project,” said Probst.