Across the state this fall, 54 community colleges and public technical colleges will receive a total of $2.5 million from Texas Comptroller Susan Combs to use for student scholarships this school year.
The JET (Jobs and Education for Texans) Career and Technical Scholarship Fund provides tuition grants to award
scholarships to students enrolled in approved training programs for several high-demand occupations. Recipient schools like Coastal Bend College offer training programs in oil and gas technology, welding, computer support, mechanical and repair technology, drafting and design technology, health professions and other degree plans where a certificate or an associate degree is a basic prerequisite.
“When it comes to the rising cost of college, scholarships are more important than ever,”
said Dr. Thomas Baynum, Coastal Bend College president. “Most of the scholarships from this fund will go to health professions to help us meet the growing demands of our region for well-trained health professionals who plan to live and work in South Texas.”
CBC offers certificates and/or degrees in vocational nursing, registered nursing, dental hygiene, radiologic technology, medical coding and medical office administration.
“Community colleges are facing tight budgets, so our grant awards are an obvious boon to both the schools and their students,” Combs said. “Texas has a critical need for trained workers in technical jobs that pay above-average salaries. We’re meeting this challenge and helping create a positive, long-term career outlook for thousands of Texans.”
Sixty percent of the scholarship funds are allocated to students enrolled in certificate programs, while the remaining 40 percent covers associate degree plans.
Steven F. Horton, dean of technical education at San Jacinto College in Pasadena, appreciates the continued support from the state of Texas toward making a difference in the lives of students.
“I could not be more pleased with the commitment to workforce education that Texas Comptroller Susan Combs has shown through her support of the JET Scholarship Program,” Horton said. “Due to the financial assistance that the program has provided, 148 students at San Jacinto College have enrolled in 14 technical education programs, majoring in 24 different degree and certificate options.”
In October 2009, the JET Advisory Board awarded the first round of tuition grants from the scholarship fund, also totaling $2.5 million, to 54 Texas community and technical colleges. In turn, these schools awarded scholarships to 2,028 students. By June 2010, the program disbursed about $1.5 million of that $2.5 million available for scholarships. The recipients, 72 percent of whom were above traditional college age, received an average of $740 each to help build new and better lives.
Dr. John Bethscheider, provost of Alvin Community College, said the scholarship funds clearly provide the financial assistance some students need to continue their college education.
“The JET Scholarship award comes at a very opportune time for our technical students,” Bethscheider said. “With the high unemployment rate and difficulty in finding jobs, the scholarship award will allow our students to train for jobs that are in demand.”
Combs’ program helps Texas better serve students in obtaining the education and skills needed to meet future work force challenges and promotes the continued prosperity of our economically diverse state.
The JET Career and Technical Scholarship Fund is part of the Comptroller’s Every Chance Funds, a $25 million initiative providing grants and scholarships over the biennium for career and technical education. The program also includes the $10 million Launchpad Fund, which supports and expands existing nonprofit programs with a proven track record of good performance, and the $10 million Job Building Fund, which helps finance equipment purchases for new career and technical education programs that support high-growth industries.
For more information about Every Chance Funds, visit http://www.everychanceeverytexan.org/funds.