Special to The Leader
The Orange Leader
AUSTIN, Texas —
Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples today announced $500,000 in funding is available for the Parallel Pathways to Success Grant Program (Parallel Pathways). Applications are due Thursday, July 11, 2013. Parallel Pathways is designed to meet the workforce needs of rural Texas communities through the development of educational programs that provide workforce skills and job training. Students will concurrently earn their high school diploma and vocational skills certifications or college credits.
“Parallel Pathways helps communities align their educational resources with the workforce needs of their local economy,” Commissioner Staples said. “Texas students deserve the opportunity to learn the skills they need to pursue successful careers, whether that is achieved through direct career training or a traditional college route. By ensuring our future workforce has the skills employers need, we are not only creating a qualified workforce but encouraging economic development in our rural communities.”
Demand for skilled workers continues to grow as the Texas economy flourishes. A total of $500,000 will be awarded to qualifying applicants. Individual grant awards will be no less than $75,000 and a maximum of $125,000. A minimum match of one dollar for every dollar requested must be provided by grant applicants. Applicants must demonstrate how their program will enable students to acquire the skills needed to compete in the local workforce.
Since its creation in 2009, Parallel Pathways has awarded seven grants, which have benefited Texans across the state. At the Lampasas County Higher Education Center, more than 600 students have received career and college readiness assistance, thanks in part to a Parallel Pathways grant, and the number continues to grow.
Rick Moeller, principal of Knox City High School, also has seen first-hand the impact of Parallel Pathways grants. Knox City High School received Parallel Pathways grant funding for the 2010-2011 fiscal year, which helped more than 100 students enroll in dual credit courses, allowed more than 50 students to attend college and career fairs, and employed another 50 students in a summer work program through the Texas Workforce Commission.
“What we are willing to invest today will produce dividends later,” Moeller said. “The Parallel Pathways grant allowed us to help each one of our students whether they were college, trade school or directly to work students.”
Accredited high schools, institutions of higher learning, chambers of commerce, economic development entities and other similar organizations located in rural Texas communities are encouraged to apply for a Parallel Pathways grant. Rural areas are defined as municipalities with a population of less than 50,000 and counties that have a non-metropolitan population of less than 20,000.
The deadline to submit applications is July 11, 2013. To learn more and download an application, visit www.TexasAgriculture.gov and click on the the “Grants & Services” tab, or click here. For questions on the application process, contact Mindy Fryer at (512) 463-6908 orGrants@TexasAgriculture.gov.