The Commerce Journal

August 15, 2013

CISD receives education grant

Ludonna Smithers
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — The Commerce Independent School District is the recipient of a $124,000 grant from the Texas Department of Agriculture to support career and technical education programs shared by Commerce High School and surrounding high schools.

The grant was in conjunction with Paris Junior College and Texas A&M University-Commerce.

The Parallel Pathways to Success Grant Program aims to align educational resources with workforce needs by supporting programs that offer rural high school students a more flexible education system with a focus on job training.

Northeast Texas Career and Technical Consortium director Mary Park, co-author and project manager, said the grant will provide tuition support and equipment for the health science program already offered by surrounding districts, the newly established welding and electrical programs offered by PJC and an information technology program partnership with A&M-Commerce.

Mary Wallace, secondary curriculum specialist from Boles ISD, was also a co-author.

“The grant funds will be used primarily for tuition, which will open up opportunities for more students to obtain dual credit and continue into post-secondary degrees or certification,” Park said.

Program outcomes include AWS welding certification, electrician certificate, college credit toward associate degrees and certifications in enhanced nurse’s aide, phlebotomy and emergency care attendant.

Microsoft certifications are also included.

These areas have been identified by Interlink, a regional labor market research group, as being high skill/high wage occupations with above average estimated growth in the area.

Approximately 340 students are expected to be working toward certifications during the 2013-2014 school year.

A total of 150 are expected to test for and pass certifications.

“We are excited about the new opportunities for our students and we appreciate all the hard work and time Ms. Park and Ms. Wallace put into applying for the grant,” CISD Superintendent Blake Cooper said.

“With the new graduation requirements, it is important that districts work together to provide additional opportunities for students to become certified in an area and make themselves more marketable in the workforce.”

CISD  will use the former Tri County Special Education Cooperative building at 604 Culver Street for the electrical courses and PJC is providing additional equipment.