Educational and career opportunities are closer and easier to access than ever thanks to Hondo’s South Texas Regional Training Center and the new James W. Danner, Sr. Training Annex.
Genevieve Flores, Economic Development Director for the City of Hondo, was at the Devine City Council meeting last Tuesday, January 21 to discuss what STRTC has to offer thanks to partnerships with Workforce Solutions Alamo, Southwest Texas Junior College, Goodwill Academy, the Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG), and the City of Hondo.
Workforce Solutions Alamo offers assistance with job searching, work experience, training opportunities, unemployment benefits, employer services, and a demand occupation list.
“From that list is where Hondo and that training center figure out what is needed, meaning as in training, what is needed for classes, what’s needed for vocational classes,” Flores said.
State-of-the-art welding equipment is being installed at the Training Annex after the demand occupation list showed a need for welders. Night classes begin on February 17 and run through July.
“It’s a self-paced system, so if you need to test for a certification, they will let you test so that you can get the certification that fits you,” Flores said.
Heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) courses are also offered.
A women’s entrepreneur boot camp began in January, and will be offered every month in English and Spanish.
“It’s about women starting their jobs, starting their own business, women that already have their business and just need guidance, or have financial questions or have marketing questions,” Flores said.
Southwest Texas Junior College offers basic college courses and Associate degrees, as well as Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Certified Nursing Administration Assistant, Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), and Certified Heavy Equipment Operator courses.
A new offering is the Patient Care Technician (PCT) course.
“That offers that person to get trained with EKG, phlebotomy, Certified Medical Assistant, and Certified Nursing Assistant,” Flores said. “So Patient Care Technician will offer a four-in-one.”
Pell Grants and student loans are available, as is application assistance.
ESL and GED classes are also offered. Fifty students took advantage of the GED program in 2018, a number that skyrocketed to 310 in 2019.
“There are people on site and it’s a self-paced program,” Flores said. “So for someone that needs assistance, there’s someone there to help you.”
The Goodwill Academy is also offering a CNA program through area high schools. Students from Sabinal are picked up at 7:45 am, arrive at STRTC by 8:05 am, and are back in Sabinal for their 3rd Period classes by 10:00 am.
Students must be at least 16 years old to participate.
“Hondo is taking advantage of that, so is Sabinal, but so can Devine,” Flores said.
The Hondo Public Library is also in on the action, offering Microsoft Office Suites certification programs.
Free transportation provided
Free transportation to STRTC and back once students have enrolled in classes is provided via the Alamo Regional Transit (ART) bus, thanks to a partnership with AACOG.
“We have partnered with them and they have said, ‘Hey, you go out and you find the towns, you find the people, and we will help you, we will get them to Hondo,'” Flores said. “So that is exciting news because that’s never happened.”
Flores will oversee scheduling the rides. A minimum of five passengers from the same area is required.
Spread the word
Flores said she wants citizens to figure out who they know who could benefit from the training and assistance available at STRTC.
“If we educate somebody that can make more money with welding, they’re going to come back home and where are they going to spend their money? Here,” Flores said. “So we’re doing a favor by offering these things, but we’re also doing a favor to that person that wants to get ahead that wants to make more money and do more for themselves and their families.”
STRTC is located at 402 Carter St. in Hondo. For more information, visit www.hondo-tx.org, or contact Flores directly at email@example.com or 830-741-8319.
By Marly Davis