El Paso Community College (EPCC) announced that the college is the recipient of a $1.5 million grant that will support Texas workers who need to reskill or upskill, allowing them to get the educational credentials needed to get back into the workforce.
“Locally we have been facing exceptional difficulties as a result of COVID-19. One of those challenges has been the economic impact our region,” EPCC President Dr. William Serrata said. “This grant and the resulting training that will be provided for our students is a great example of the many ways EPCC is supporting our economic recovery. As we look forward to the future, EPCC will be a key contributor to our community’s economic rebound.”
The grant also provides up to $2,500 for tuition and fees to students who were near graduation and had to pause their studies because of the pandemic, allowing them to complete their degrees in 2021.
The grant was awarded by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), using a portion of the funds allocated to them from the Governor’s Emergency Educational Relief (GEER) fund.
“We can help students who have previously stopped out of higher education without completing a postsecondary credential as well as help displaced Texas workers who need to reskill and upskill and complete a higher education credential so they can rejoin the workforce and get back on their feet,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Harrison Keller.
EPCC’s Executive Director of Financial Aid, Ines Lopez, is enthusiastic about what the grant will mean for students.
“As the primary gateway to higher education for many economically disadvantaged and minority students residing in El Paso and Hudspeth Counties, this is another example of EPCC responding to community needs, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Lopez said.
Officials add that the funding targets degree and certificate programs that are high-quality and in high demand in the region. Of the 49 institutions state-wide who were awarded funds in the first round of grant applications, EPCC is one of only five institutions that was awarded more than a million dollars.