STC receives millions in federal grant for academic program and health center – Rio Grande Guardian

EDINBURG, Texas – Ricardo J. Solis, president of South Texas College, says his institution is committed to building a sustainable health care workforce for the Rio Grande Valley.

Solis was pleased to announce that STC has received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to expand its healthcare offerings.

“With this initiative, we and our partners are committed to providing more opportunities for non-traditional learners and improving the skills of health professionals in our communities,” Solis said.

“This is an investment in education and lays the foundation for a healthier, more resilient future for the residents of McAllen and the Rio Grande Valley.”

The DOL grant covers the next three years through June 30, 2027.

Jayson T. Valerio, dean of nursing and healthcare at STC, said the grant will help the college develop and offer an Associate of Applied Science degree program in dental hygiene as well as micro-certificate courses targeting high-demand healthcare skills.

The grant will also address the acute shortage of medical professionals in the Rio Grande Valley, Valerio explained.

This will be achieved through the establishment of a Centre for Human Resources Development and Continuing Education for Health Professionals (WDCECHP), which will be housed at the STC Regional Workforce Development Health Care Center.

“We are thrilled to receive this award, which will further enable us to provide critical education and training opportunities to a diverse learner base. Our goal is to develop healthcare professionals who are able to meet the evolving medical needs of our society, particularly in response to recent health crises,” said Valerio.

“We are grateful to the U.S. Department of Labor for this opportunity and to our key partners who made this initiative possible.”

The initiative is a collaboration between STC, South Texas Health System Inc., Lower Rio Grande Valley Workforce Development Board (Workforce Solutions – Regional Healthcare Task Force), McAllen Economic Development Corporation, Hidalgo County – Prosperity (Health) Taskforce and the Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement (VIDA).

According to a press release from the STC, the Department of Labor grant aims to help “non-traditional learners and established workers” in McAllen and the greater Rio Grande Valley “by engaging marginalized or underrepresented groups in educational programs and promoting inclusive programs and collaborative partnerships with community organizations.”

Photo courtesy: South Texas College

Valerio said the DOL grant will also enable STC to offer training that addresses the challenges of post-pandemic health care, including mental health support and technological advancements. It will also enable it to promote inclusive programs and partnerships with community organizations, collaborate with other educational institutions, health care facilities and community stakeholders, and establish training and recruitment channels that focus on quality, diversity and adaptability.