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Contact: Ann Hatch214-378-1819; email@example.com
For immediate release — Aug. 1, 2013
(DALLAS) — Veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq are looking for work in Dallas County. Businesses are looking for qualified employees during a time when they see a shortage of skilled labor. Put those two factors together, add college credit for military experience and training, and provide educational opportunities in information technology through the Dallas County Community College District. What’s the result? College Credit for Heroes.
DCCCD recently received a $150,000 grant from the Texas Workforce Commission; that grant is enabling the district to create accelerated career paths for industry certification in information technology and an optional Internet marketing specialist certificate. The program, offered by all seven colleges in the DCCCD system, reduces the time a veteran needs to complete an associate degree to 18 months and the certificate to 10 months for those specified areas.
“More than 20,000 veterans who live in Dallas County right now are participating in programs that provide education, psychological services, supportive housing and medical services. As the nation welcomes military personnel who are returning from service in Afghanistan and Iraq, we believe that many of those service members will return to north Texas,” said Joyce Williams, district director of workforce development and education at DCCCD.
She added, “Because businesses are facing a shortage of skilled employees, they view veterans as the new workforce, based on the skills they obtained through both their military experience and their sense of commitment to get the job done. We want to offer training that includes their military experience so that we can reduce the amount of time it takes to earn a degree or certificate. As a result, those veterans can enter the workforce more rapidly and find jobs in our communities.” DCCCD’s program is called Veteran Success Through Accelerated IT Pathways.
College Credit for Heroes was launched in 2011 using $3 million in Workforce Investment Act funds. The program was authorized during the 82nd session of the Texas Legislature. During the program’s first phase, the Texas Inter-College Council on Veterans was organized, comprising seven community colleges serving areas with large veteran populations: Alamo Colleges, Central Texas College, Houston Community College, Lee College, Lone Star College, San Jacinto College and Temple College. The program also is supported by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
The colleges of DCCCD and five other institutions received grants this summer to join College Credit for Heroes for the second phase of the program — Angelo State University, Austin Community College, Grayson College, Tarrant County College District and Texas State Technical College-Harlingen. “Service men and women are highly skilled, experienced individuals who have a tremendous amount to offer their communities when they return home after serving their country,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronnyu Congleton. “The expansion of College Credit for Heroes will give veterans greater employment opportunities and will help fulfill the workforce needs of Texas.”
DCCCD’s grant from TWC started April 19, 2013, and ends June 30, 2014; its goal is to meet workforce needs in Dallas County.
“Currently, the seven colleges in DCCCD’s system enroll approximately 3,000 veterans; more than 10 percent of those students have selected IT as their major,” explained Williams. “Our primary goal is to provide college credit for these courses to decrease the amount of time a student takes to earn an associate degree in IT or a workforce IT certificate so that veterans can transition into the workforce quickly.”
For more information about the College Credit for Heroes program at DCCCD, contact Joyce Williams, district director of workforce development and education, at (214) 378-1746 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or the veterans coordinators at each college, who are listed at www.dcccd.edu/veterans.
General information about the College Credit for Heroes program administered by the Texas Workforce Commission is available at vets.texasworkforce.org.
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