The Lubbock Economic Development Alliance (LEDA) invests in workforce development through initiatives focused on training and equipping high school students for the future. LEDA has partnered with Workforce Solutions South Plains since 2014 to leverage state funds and provide South Plains area school districts with equipment grants.
With a historically low unemployment rate, these partners have emphasized the importance of focusing directly on education and training for its future workforce. By maintaining a partnership with school districts and higher education institutions around the South Plains region through their high demand grants program, LEDA is shaping the future of West Texas.
Since the beginning of the grant program in 2015, LEDA has awarded $885,293 to middle schools and high schools, along with higher education institutions, within the nearby 11 counties. By utilizing state funds and providing a 1:1 match of up to $150,000 per grant, LEDA and its partners have been able to support 53 schools and 61 school programs. These grants are able to provide funds for state-of-the-art equipment and also enhance the capacity of already existing trade programs within Career Technical Education (CTE) classes and training programs.
By providing financial support toward the tools and instruments needed in the classroom, LEDA is able to positively impact students’ education for multiple years before the equipment needs to be replaced again. Taking these measures not only maximizes utility, but also ensures students are equipped with the skills they need to have options upon graduation.
“The High Demand Job Training grants have been a tremendous blessing to the students of Roosevelt ISD,” said Roosevelt School District Superintendent Dallas Grimes. “The grant funding helps to support our Career & Technical Education programs, which provide real-world relevance to many of our students. In addition to immediately increasing their interest in school, these programs are equipping students with required skills they can immediately use in the workforce. Many of our students will be able to fill positions for area employers who have a difficult time securing adequate personnel with these skills.”
Over the past four years, this program has benefited more than 4,000 students in the region. The counties impacted include: Lubbock, Hockley, Crosby, Kimble, Yoakum, Lamb, Bailey, Hale, Terry, Cochran and Lynn. Each of these counties provide a future cohort of employees for the West Texas workforce. Students who are looking to continue their education within trade and other training programs, or enter the workforce upon high school graduation, are readily prepared.
Lubbock and the South Plains are experiencing a shortage of technically skilled workers ready to enter the workforce. To address this, LEDA and our education partners have been able to assist by preparing students who are interested in technical careers. This grant program solidifies that effort at the high school level. If students are interested in receiving a certification and then continuing on to higher education, South Plains College has a state-of-the-art technical center that teaches advanced technical courses. These layers of technical education provide a solid foundation for these skills in the Lubbock area.
Lubbock’s low unemployment rate provides the ideal situation for students who are nearing the completion of school. As new jobs are being created there is an increasing demand to fill those positions. Luckily, the high demand grants program is part of a comprehensive and coordinated attempt to successfully grow Lubbock’s future workforce while developing a talent pipeline for local businesses, as well as future positions coming to Lubbock. It takes a unique approach to workforce development by incorporating important messaging about available in-demand careers into the education of middle, high school and higher education students.
“Investing in the skills of our future workforce provides our citizens with the necessary training to fill positions within these high-demand jobs while meeting the needs of our growing business community,” said John Osborne, CEO and President of LEDA. “We know people want to live in Lubbock, and businesses want to be in Lubbock. These grants continue to provide opportunities for our citizens to improve their quality of life and supply businesses with a proficient workforce, increasing efficiency and productivity.”
The success of this project has touched many aspects of our community and has strengthened LEDA’s relationships with education and business. Because of the success of this partnership, LEDA will continue to seek out ways to strengthen its efforts in workforce development. To learn more about the high demand grants program visit lubbockeda.org