$208K grant supercharges Lamar State College Orange education, community impact

Published 12:26 am Thursday, July 14, 2022

Samone Green’s passion is nursing.

She enjoys helping people. The Orange resident said she doesn’t have the wealth to outright bless people with financial gifts.

“But, I feel like, with the proper education, I can give back through serving, being a great nurse and helping others,” Green said. “That is my way to give back.”

The West Orange-Stark alumna is well on her way to accomplishing that goal, having already earned her certified nursing assistant and licensed vocational nurse certifications.

Now, she is studying to become a registered nurse at Lamar State College Orange.

“It’s a way of me giving back, serving others and being a great nurse,” she said. “I want to work with other people and help them reach better outcomes.”

Green shared some of her passions and goals this week in the lobby of the college’s Stark Nursing Building.

It was there she was joined by fellow nursing students and administrators celebrating a Texas Workforce Commission grant for $208,741 benefiting the college’s nursing and health-related programs.

One of this week’s speakers at the Lamar State College Orange grant presentation was Provost and Executive Vice President Dr. Wendy Elmore. (Courtesy of Lamar State College Orange)

The funds

Provost and Executive Vice President Dr. Wendy Elmore said the college began the process to secure the funds close to two years ago and was ready to put the award into action.

LSCO purchased major pieces of equipment, including nursing simulators, bedside cabinets, bedside tables, stretchers, skills exam tables and IV poles.

Essentially, it allowed administrators to fill out several lab spaces with state-of-the-art equipment benefiting nursing and EMT students.

According to Elmore, the grant was made even more significant in an age of COVID and the dilemmas and obstacles the pandemic forced on nursing programs throughout the country.

When access to patients wasn’t safe for those involved, schools had to adjust.

“Simulation experience became even more critical,” Elmore said. “The students now have hands-on simulation experience without having to risk going into clinical sites. That was very important in helping our students remain engaged and prepared fully with their nursing education.”

The funding infusion proved timely and allowed LSCO to outfit a simulation lab that prepares students and allows them to feel very competent in their training. It’s a benefit as they move into the medical field, Elmore said.

Texas Workforce Commissioner Aaron Demerson addresses those in attendance at Lamar State College Orange. (Stephen Hemelt/The Leader)

The grant

Texas Workforce Commissioner Aaron Demerson signed the ceremonial check for Lamar State College Orange on Wednesday.

Charged with representing employers, Demerson made sure to note LSCO is no stranger to taking care of business.

“This college has been thick with us at the Texas Workforce Commission, taking full advantage of the programs,” he said. “You have built a dynamic team that is going to be doing things in a big way. I always say the secret sauce in Texas is when you bring together the words ‘workforce,’ ‘economic development’ and ‘education.’ You cover that with elected leadership who gets it, and we’re well on our way to success.”

Demerson boasted an exciting time for Texas and a “booming” state economy.

However, he does not want employers to leave the state because they can’t find the proper workforce.

“Our students will also go elsewhere if they can’t find employment and career opportunities,” he said. “This (grant award) allows us to take care of business in a big way.”

LSCO President Dr. Tom Johnson echoed the sentiment, noting the funds enable the college to continue offering state-of-the-art training to students “so that they will be skilled in best practices in their future industry and ready-to-work at the highest levels upon graduation.”

College officials the grant funds training to more than 250 registered nursing, emergency medical technician and licensed vocational nursing programs.

LSCO President Dr. Tom Johnson