More than 60 officials representing South Texas College, PSJA ISD, Texas Workforce Commission and local municipalities gathered at the STC Technology Campus’ new Technical and Workforce training building for the TWC grant award ceremony, presented by Commissioner Julian Alvarez III.

$221,729 from the Skills Development fund was awarded to STC and $342,740 from the Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) grant was awarded to PSJA ISD, totaling in $564,569 in funds going toward higher education in the Valley.

This is the second consecutive year that PSJA ISD has received a JET grant.

Dr. Daniel King, superintendent of PSJA ISD, said the money will be going toward equipment and resources to enrich technical education in PSJA schools, with the hope of producing career-ready students that will attract employers to the Valley.

“I often hear about companies wanting to come here and they’re looking for that skilled workforce and they’re asking ‘Is there a pipeline?’” King said. “All across the Valley great things are happening, and we want to be a part of it.”

Carlos Margo, dean of Industry Training and Economic Development at STC, said there is disparity between the increasing amount of technical jobs that are needed and the amount of people needed to fill those openings.

Margo continued by saying South Texas College wants to meet the growing demand for technical jobs and meet the technical skills gap. He thinks there will be millions of jobs unfilled in the next decade across the United States and STC wants to chip that away.

Commissioner Alvarez applauded the Valley’s camaraderie, and said it was the envy of other communities he’s worked with.

“When we do something in south Texas we do it big,” he said. “I’ve gone and delivered JET grants in other places, and only 10 or 15 people show up.”

“They ask, ‘How is it that you can get an EDC, an ISD, a community college, the leadership of the town and those that are trustees in the local community college to work together?’ -- I said, well let me tell you what they’re doing in south Texas.”

Also in attendance at the ceremony was was McAllen Mayor, Jim Darling, and State Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen.