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Harlingen EDC and TSTC Foundation Work Together to Help TSTC Students Meet Goals

HARLINGEN, TEXAS (Jan. 18, 2022) – Over the last two years, the TSTC Foundation has partnered with Harlingen EDC to help develop our future workforce through what they call the Goal Line Assistance Program. The program was created to help students who are within two or three semesters of completing their degree to cross over that goal line. All too often, situations arise that become obstacles to the completion of a degree plan for many students. This program was designed to help alleviate some of those obstacles.

Since the HEDC and TSTC’s partnership in 2019, the Goal Line Assistance has awarded 246 area students an average of $855 per student, allowing them to finish their certifications and degrees. 

Earlier this month during a regular Harlingen Economic Development Board of Directors’ meeting, Richard Mesquias, TSTC Foundation, requested an additional $50,000 towards the program. The Board approved the request and the funds will be used for students in need during the Spring semester. 

“The program has since helped many students in programs that are high-demand industries like nursing, dental hygiene, education, automotive, wind energy and others,” Raudel Garza, Harlingen EDC CEO, said. 

“One of our main jobs as an economic development organization is to ensure that we have a strong and skilled workforce to meet the demands of our existing employers and those looking to relocate to Harlingen.” 

The program criteria includes: 

·       Student must be enrolled full-time (12 credit hours) or part-time (3-11 credit hours)

·       Enrolled in any TSTC program

·       Must have a 2.0 GPA and be in good standing

·       Traditional and non-traditional students

·       Must be in their final three semesters of study

TSTC Enrollment Services will select students who are in need of assistance. Once students are found eligible, they can use the award money towards tuition, materials, uniforms, tolls, testing fees, and TSTC campus housing.

“We greatly appreciate our partnership with the Harlingen EDC, their continued support makes a great impact on the future of our students and our workforce,” Mesquias said. 

“Students who have been awarded funds are extremely grateful and we constantly receive letters of appreciation from them.”

Prior to this program, students who couldn’t afford transportation, housing, food, or tools for their program opted to just “take a break” or quit altogether, just as they were about to graduate.

“This fund has helped those students get them to the goal line.”

Harlingen Internship Program

Additionally, Mesquias also presented a new program to the HEDC Board of Directors called the Harlingen Internship Program. This program will provide additional funds to TSTC students that are part of a paid internship program that aligns with their field of study. 

This initiative came from several discussions between the HEDC and TSTC Foundation after they evaluated that several local manufacturers were challenged when it came to attaining a talented pipeline for skilled workers. 

Together, the two organizations have invited companies like Emerson, Penn Aluminum, and Atlantic Tool & Die to participate in the internship program. 

“The companies will pay interns $12 an hour and the HEDC will provide additional funds in order to give interns an additional $2 to $4 an hour depending on the program enrolled,” Mesquias explained. 

The two TSTC programs benefiting from this support are the precision machining and mechatronics programs. Interns must work a minimum of 20 hours a week for 16 weeks. The Harlingen EDC approved $51,200 in funds to support this program for the Spring semester. 

“TSTC has excellent programs and training and together with the help of programs like the Goal Line Assistance and now the Harlingen Internship Program, we are accomplishing student and community success,” Garza, Harlingen EDC CEO, said.