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News Release from Comptroller Susan Combs

For Immediate Release
September 24, 2009

Schools Must Meet Friday Deadline to Receive State Scholarship Funds for Career & Technical Education

(AUSTIN) — Public community colleges and technical institutes across Texas have until tomorrow afternoon to apply for their portion of a $5 million Career and Technical Scholarship Fund from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts for students enrolled in training programs for high-demand occupations.

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs is allocating Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) Grant Program scholarship funds through her Every Chance Funds program, an initiative providing grants and scholarships over the biennium for career and technical education.To receive an allocation for student scholarships, public community colleges and technical schools must complete an application form and return it to the Comptroller by 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25.

Eligible public community colleges and public technical institutes will make the final selection of the scholarship recipients. The scholarships will go to students who demonstrate financial need, are permanent legal residents of the United States and who are enrolled or are enrolling in a public community college’s or public technical institute’s training program for a high-demand occupation.

“We want to award scholarships to students seeking high-demand jobs where some higher education is a basic prerequisite,” Combs said. “There is high demand for people with these skills, so the scholarship fund will enable students to make immediate and valued contributions to the Texas economy. We are working closely with community colleges and technical institutes to award the scholarships and administer the program.”

Scholarships may only be awarded to students seeking professional registration, certification or licensure in a high-demand occupation, where a certificate or an associate degree is the basic prerequisite for such registration, certification or licensure. Every Chance Career and Technical Scholarships may only be awarded to students in certificate or associate degree programs in the following training programs for the following high-demand occupations:

  • Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services
  • Engineering Technologies/Technicians
  • Science Technologies/Technicians
  • Construction Trades
  • Mechanical and Repair Technologies/Technicians
  • Precision Production
  • Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences

Certain degree programs are excluded from the scholarship program. A list of excluded certificate or associate degree programs is on the Comptroller’s Web site at: http://www.everychanceeverytexan.org/funds/trainingprograms/. The Comptroller will pay scholarship funds to public community colleges or public technical institutes on a reimbursement basis only for tuition, required fees and student exam or certification fees in Comptroller-approved training programs. Institutions may re-allocate up to 10 percent of the grant amount for the certificate or associate degree program allocations as long as it does not exceed the total allocation.

Every Chance Funds include three categories of money. The $5 million Career and Technical Scholarship Fund allocates money for approved training programs for high-demand occupations. A $10 million Job Building Fund will help finance equipment purchases for new career and technical education programs started throughout the state that support high-growth industries. The $10 million Launchpad Fund will support and expand existing nonprofit programs with a proven track record of good performance.

In December, Combs released Texas Works, a report detailing the widening gap between the skills required in today’s job market and the number of graduates trained with those skills coming out of our education system. The report detailed how many Texas businesses have a hard time finding skilled technical workers, and numerous employers said dwindling enrollment in vocational training programs negatively affects their businesses. One of the recommendations within the Texas Works report called for the state to create a $25 million education fund to support career technical education, which the 81st Legislature responded to by creating the JET Fund.

For more information about the funds, visit http://www.everychanceeverytexan.org/funds. The Texas Works report is available on the Comptroller’s Web site at www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/workforce.

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