‘Give them a job quickly’: Amarillo College receives $1.5 million grant to expand access to training

Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 4:45 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Thirteen colleges across the country are receiving funds from the U.S. Department of Labor and Amarillo College is one of those schools.

The department has announced the award of $45 million total in grant funding to help expand career and technical education programs.

It says this second round of Strengthening Community Colleges Training grants will allow these colleges to improve its ability to address equity gaps and meet employers and workers’ skills development needs.

AC has been awarded $1,525,140.

“The grant will allow us to build training around industrial technology, enhance the training we have, upgrade all the equipment, that’s really huge for us, we’ll be doing a large equipment upgrade for industrial technology,” said David Hall, associate dean of technical education, AC.

The college is partnering with the Smart Automation Certification Alliance to provide modular industry 4.0 certifications, which are needed for many automation industries.

Hall says the goal of this grant is to bridge the gap between the college and its area employers to help fill more jobs.

Some of those employers the college works with include Cacique and Owens Corning. Hall says the college will start serving more than that though.

Many of its partners are seeing technology rapidly advance to where workers need more skills.

“The SACA certificates and micro-credentials will be used to address the immediate needs of our workforce partners and give students a short term credential that will give them a job quickly,” said Hall.

Amarillo Economic Development Corporation says Amarillo has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state and believes this money will not only help fill jobs, but help upskill the employment.

“Those types of industries typically pay a higher wage than others and anytime you can raise the median wage in a city or county, that’s definitely going to help giving people more buying power and gives them more expendable income to enjoy the better things,” said Kevin Carter, president/CEO, AEDC.

AC says next steps include lining out purchases and developing curriculum. It plans to deploy certificates early next year.