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Grant Offers New Careers for Students at Lone Star College

Maria Laurel
Maria Laurel received her GED in 2014 and went on to complete the Electrocardiogram (ECG) program at LSC-Conroe Center, thanks to grant funds she received from Accelerate TEXAS.
Lone Star College is placing students on a fast track to a new
career at little or no cost— thanks to the continuation of the Accelerate TEXAS Projects grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB).
 
THECB created Accelerate TEXAS in response to the growing demand for adult basic education services at a time when Texas needs more of these students to transition to college level degree and certificate programs. A total of 14 community colleges, including the Lone Star College System, now participate in Accelerate TEXAS via grant funding from THECB.
 
Those that are interested in learning more about Accelerate TEXAS are encouraged to participate in Accelerate TEXAS Week, November 10-14, which will highlight particular programs and student successes. They are also encouraged to attend a free presentation on Thursday, November 13, from 12-1 p.m., at LSC-Conroe Center.
 
Accelerate Lone Star offers assistance with a number of high-demand workforce programs for underprepared students. The program combines intensive advising, college and career readiness, contextualized support skill classes, and selected workforce certificates that move students through education to employment in just a few months. This program is funded and supported by THECB and The Workforce Commission, and was recently awarded $500,000 by JP Morgan Chase to train underemployed adults.
 
“We focus on transitioning students not only into jobs, which may need them right away, but also to other college-level classes that will give them an even greater advantage when trying to increase their employability,” said Martha Neely, system program director for the Accelerate Lone Star program. “We also work closely with Jobs for the Future (a national entity) and area employers to increase the success rates for students moving into the workforce upon completion. Now, with the fund that JP Morgan Chase awarded to us, we will be able to train more people in the manufacturing sector.”
 
Maria Teresa Laurel is a 2014 GED graduate whom, at the age of 17, with only an elementary school-level education, left her home in Coahuila, Mexico, to come to Houston to help support her parents. She became an American citizen and after her youngest child got married, returned to school to foster her lifelong interest of having a career in the healthcare field. Laurel was able to complete the Electrocardiogram (ECG) program through a grant offered by the Accelerate Lone Star initiative.
 
“Waking across the stage to receive my GED is my dream,” said Laurel. “I hope to be a shining light to my grandchildren. I am more confident and very excited about continuing my education.”
 
According to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, at least 60 percent of Texas jobs will require a career certificate or college degree by 2020, and 44 percent of Texans over age 25 have never been to college, let alone earned a credential. THECB created Accelerate TEXAS in response to the growing demand for adult basic education services at a time when Texas needs more of these students to transition to college-level degree and certificate programs.
 
So far, Accelerate TEXAS has served 551 students at LSC-Conroe Center, LSC-North Harris, LSC-Victory Center, LSC-University Park, and LSC-Tomball campuses. The program has a total passing rate of 87 percent among those who first began taking classes.
 
A variety of career certificates are available through the grant, including certified nurse aide (CNA), accounting assistant, phlebotomy, welding, machining, roustabout or floor-hand, automotive technician, and patient care technician (PCT).
 
Applicants will complete an adult basic education (TABE) test, which is offered at different LSC locations and local Workforce Solutions offices. Candidates are selected based on the range in which their test score falls. Additional requirements for all healthcare certificates include a background check, immunizations, and a Social Security card.
 
For more information, visit www.LoneStar.edu/acceleratelonestar; or contact Martha Neely, grant project director at LSC-Conroe Center, at Martha.L.Neely@LoneStar.edu, or (936) 521-4530; or Ester Stokes, advisor at Lone Star College-University Park, at Irene.E.Stokes@LoneStar.edu, or (936) 521-4552.
 
LSC-Montgomery is located at 3200 College Park Drive, one-half mile west of Interstate 45, between Conroe and The Woodlands. For more information about the college, call (936) 273-7000, or visit www.LoneStar.edu/montgomery.
 
Lone Star College System has been opening doors to a better community for more than 40 years. Founded in 1973, LSCS remains steadfast in its commitment to student success and credential completion.  Today, with 78,000 students in credit classes, and a total enrollment of more than 90,000, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and one of the fastest-growing community college systems in the nation.  Dr. Steve Head is the chancellor of LSCS, which consists of six colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, LSC-Tomball and LSC-University Park, seven centers, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.