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Center for Workplace Learning awarded $3.3 million

Grayson College’s Center for Workplace Learning was recently awarded $3.3 million in funding for its joint efforts with area employers to provide specialized staff trainings.

In an emailed news release distributed Tuesday, Grayson College said the funding comes from Texas Workforce Commission and is part of the Texas Skills Development Grant. Grayson’s Center for Workplace Learning has received more $9 million in skills development funding since 2010 and currently finances training programs among 12 area employers that joined the college and submitted proposals to the TWC. The proposals and funding were approved in August.

“The Skills Development Fund is extremely important for our local employers,” Workforce Solutions Texoma Executive Director Janie Bates said in the release. “They have the opportunity to apply for these grants to upgrade the skills of their current workforce and train them without so much expense for the company.”

Among the employers already benefiting from the grant program, a number are part of the medical field. Heritage Park Surgical Hospital received $219,000 in grants, which will be used to conduct more than 5,000 hours of training over the next year and pave the way for 13 new positions and more than 150 position advancements. Members of the region’s Healthcare Consortium, made up of Beacon Hill, Carrus Hospitals, Texoma Medical Center and Wilson N. Jones Regional Medical Center, are also poised to benefit. Texoma Medical Center will use $2.6 million in grant money to fund training for 224 new employees — a figure which closely mirrors the 220 additional nurses TMC anticipates it will need to hire in the next two years.

“These projects are valuable as they give everyone an opportunity for additional training that they might not otherwise get,” WNJ Education Coordinator Cathie Tribble said in the release. “We share the results of the training with our community. For example, we will have additional classes for our first responders. There are so many things that we might not get to do if it weren’t for the grant. We are so appreciative.”

The newest addition to the Skills Fund Grant includes more than $1.1 million for the Manufacturing Consortium, which is comprised of CertainTeed, Tyson Foods, Renlita Doors, Emerson, Globitech and Presco Polymers. Grayson College Contract Training Coordinator Teri Fine said many of the manufacturers have turned their attention to additional training opportunities because a significant portion of industrial employees are nearing the end of their careers.

“Most are focused on industrial maintenance,” Fine said in the release. “Companies focus on industrial maintenance because there are many employees looking to retire and replacements for those positions need to be trained. Production operators are also a primary focus for many of these companies.”

Grayson College President Jeremy McMillen said the continued cooperation between area employers and the college’s Center for Workplace Learning would have positive effects for the whole community.

“We have a strong team at the Center for Workplace Learning that allows us to leverage relationships with our partners,” McMillen said in the release. “This training allows them to be better companies and for Texoma to have a talented workforce."