Blinn College is playing a role in new workforce training opportunities coming to Central Texas.

At a summit held on Monday in Giddings, local economic leaders announced that a $4.89 million grant administered by Workforce Solutions Rural Capital is being awarded to the Smithville Workforce Training Center, providing for new training scholarships and facilities in Lee, Fayette and Bastrop counties.

Using the grant funding, Lee and Fayette counties are partnering with Blinn, who will supply the educational providers for training programs that target various workforce needs like CDL drivers, HVAC, IT, welders, plumbers and electricians.  Bastrop County is partnering with Austin Community College.

Funding will be distributed periodically as the Smithville Workforce Training Center identifies and develops programs.  Workforce Training Center Executive Director April Daniels said at the summit that it is committed to building long-lasting infrastructure in the region that will encourage citizens to stay in the area for training, while also attracting employers who are searching for a trained workforce.

Blinn Chancellor Dr. Mary Hensley said through this partnership, local businesses now have the ability to upgrade their training opportunities for their employees.

According to Giddings Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Denice Harlan, only 32 communities received a part of the $12 million that was awarded, and Smithville Workforce Training received $4.89 million of that amount.

Giddings Economic Development Corporation President David Stedman said the city has united with Dr. Hensley and Blinn’s leadership, with help from the Texas Workforce Commission and State Senator Lois Kolkhorst, to “forge a new multi-million dollar initiative.”  He said he is thrilled to be able to “form an exciting new working relationship with our business community.”

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