Posted Date: 08/08/2018
The Raymondville Independent School District was recently awarded $844,464 in grant money from the Texas Workforce Commission and the Texas Education Agency.
The Texas Workforce Commission grants are designed to enhance career and technical education to better prepare students for careers in high demand fields. TEA grants will support a technology lending program at Raymondville Early College High School and a $300,000 Talent Transformation grant will focus on recruitment, training, and retention of excellent teachers.
“These grants will help provide great opportunities for students in our community,” stated RISD Superintendent Stetson Roane,” students will get the knowledge, skills, and training to be prepared for rewarding careers in the future.”
The Job and Education for Texans Grant (JET) awarded the district $271,472 in funds to purchase and install equipment to be used for training students for careers in the manufacturing industry, such as certified welding.
Part of the (JET) Grant will be used for the construction of a state of the art welding and mechanical science facility that will be located next to the current ag building. The 35x60’ building will house five virtual welders and ten welding stations.
Virtual welding simulators help students develop confidence in their abilities and offer numerous educational benefits. Along with the innovative virtual welders, the new facility will contain ten welding stations that can help students weld projects and eventually earn a welding or construction certificate.
“Students follow a pathway through our courses and will be eligible to get certified through the (AWS) American Welding Society and the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER),” said Agriculture Science Instructor Richard Garcia,” students can enter the program as freshmen and develop skills for their future in the work force.”
The (JET) Grant provides funding for equipment to eligible educational institutions to be used to train students for jobs in high demand fields.
The Texas Workforce Commission lists welding as one of the top ten professions in demand across the state.
The RISD School Board supports students learning skills that have real world applications.
“We, the Board of Trustees, want to help provide students with as many opportunities as possible and help them achieve success in and outside the classroom,” said school board President John Solis,” Students deserve to be self-sufficient and economically sustaining members of their community.”
RISD was also awarded a Dual Credit Career and Technical Education Grant. This $222,992 grant will allow the district to purchase and install top of the line equipment needed to complete course work. These resources will assist students with dual enrollment courses and lead to certification and a career in the Health Science industry, such as a registered nurse.
Dual enrollment courses enable students to get a jumpstart on their education or career goals as they earn credit toward a degree or professional credentials while still in high school.
“Dual credit and technical education programs are funded in effort to meet industry demands for skilled workers in technical fields,” explained RISD Assistant Superintendent Benjamin Clinton,” students in the district have the opportunity to save time and money by enrolling in postsecondary classes, while simultaneously completing high school course work.”
This Fall, in partnership with Coastal Bend College, the current nursing program at RISD will be expanded to offer a pre-registered nursing (RN) program.
Students enrolled in the program will have the opportunity to earn 15 college hours towards an LVN degree and Associates Degree in Nursing.
The Texas Workforce Commission lists the occupation of nursing as one of the most in demand professions in the state with an average median salary of more than $76,000 a year.
“Our goal in the next two years is to graduate students as LVNs. In four years, which will be our current freshmen group, we plan to graduate students with an Associate Degree (R.N.),” added Clinton.
In total, the Texas Workforce Commission and TEA grants push the new grant funding to more than $844,000 for the district.
“I would like to give a special thanks to the district staff and grant writers for their hard work in securing these funds to improve educational programs for our students,” added Roane,” One of our sincere priorities is to continue exploring ways to offer our students the best possible educational opportunities to help them be successful and productive members of our community.”
Through the passing of the TRE, increased enrollment, changes to the master schedule, and grant writing the district generated a total of $3.1 million more than last year. This surplus allowed Raymondville ISD to give $1.25 million in pay increase to employees, while still adding more than $500,000 to local account funds.
A recent Texas Association of School Board salary studies showed RISD teacher salaries jumped from 14th to 7th place overall compared to school districts in the area.