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News Release from Comptroller Susan Combs

For Immediate Release
August 31, 2010

Comptroller Combs Recognizes Midland College for Technical Education;

Honors Local Governments for Financial Transparency

(MIDLAND) — Texas Comptroller Susan Combs met with college leaders and local officials in Midland today to recognize achievements in technical education and praise financial transparency efforts by local governments.

The Comptroller has awarded Midland College a total of $54,812 from the JET (Jobs and Education for Texans) Career and Technical Scholarship Fund, which provides grants to fun scholarships for students enrolled in approved training programs. For the 2010-11 school year, the college has $27,406 in scholarship funds to award to students preparing for several high‐demand occupations where a certificate or an associate degree is a basic prerequisite.

“Students in the Midland area are among thousands benefiting from JET funds to earn certificates and degrees that will enable them to better provide for themselves and their families,” Combs said.

In December 2009, the Comptroller’s office issued $2.26 million to 13 institutions in the first round of Job Building Fund grants — a program with a total of $10 million in grants to award — to help finance equipment purchases for new career and technical education programs that support fast-growing industries throughout the state. Midland College received $144,500 in grant funds for the automotive technology program to expand its diesel engine vocational training at Midland’s Advanced Technology Center, a collaborative work force training facility.

“With the money we got from the Job Building Fund, we are training students in the smaller diesel truck engines up to the 18-wheelers for use in the oil fields,” said Curt Pervier, dean of technical studies. “We bought supplemental tools to support some of the equipment. Now we are purchasing specialized trainers, air conditioning systems and customized training systems.”

With the large number of three-quarter-ton and larger diesel trucks in service in the oil fields, there is a lot of demand for the skills being taught at Midland College. Technology advancements mean training centers are constantly battling obsolescence in their training equipment. This new equipment will give Midland students for the next three to five years an opportunity to train on up-to-date equipment.

For more information about scholarships and equipment grants made possible by Every Chance Funds, visit www.everychanceeverytexan.org/funds.

Regarding local transparency efforts, Combs recognized five local governments for meeting high standards in fiscal transparency. Ector County, Gaines County, the city of Odessa and Midland Independent School District recently received a gold designation in the Texas Comptroller Leadership Circle, and the city of Midland received a bronze designation. The Leadership Circle program recognizes cities, counties, school districts and other local governments that have taken their first steps toward openness, shown progress or even exceeded transparency standards in providing online access to their expenses and revenue.

“We appreciate the work of these local government officials who shine a light on spending and ensure greater accountability to the taxpayers,” Combs said. “We’re opening financial records for public examination so taxpayers can see exactly where their money is going, promoting greater accountability and raising expectations for customer service and government transparency at all levels.”

Local governments receiving an award have opened their books to the public and provide clear, consistent pictures of spending with detailed information on how tax dollars are allocated and spent. These top-ranking entities provide information online in an easily accessible, user-friendly format with features that allow taxpayers to easily drill down for more detailed information.

For tips and a step-by-step guide to achieve local government transparency, as well as a complete list of local governments in the Texas Comptroller Leadership Circle sorted by city, county and school district, visit www.TexasTransparency.org/local/. New entities are typically added on a weekly basis.

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