Julian Alvarez

Texas Workforce Commission Commissioner Julian Alvarez III signs a ceremonial check totaling $176,837, the amount of a jobs and career training grant awarded Mineral Wells ISD earlier this year.

Mineral Wells ISD officials took full advantage of their time in Austin during Mineral Wells’ chamber-organized trip to the state capitol to meet with legislators and agency leaders and representatives. It really paid off.

As a result of a meeting with Texas Workforce Commission members, the district was awarded a $176,837 Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) grant – one so competitive that of $49 million in requests this year just $2.5 million was awarded to high schools, plus another $2.5 million to colleges.

The district used the grant to further expand its high school Career and Technology Education program to acquire the equipment, curriculum and training to offer students a new transportation, distribution and logistics program that, like other CTE programs in the district, provides industry certifications that gives students going straight into the workforce a hiring advantage and head start on a well-paying career.

“There is a tremendous need for logistics worker in our area,” said David Setzer, executive director for Workforce Solutions in North Texas during a grant presentation ceremony Monday afternoon at Mineral Wells High School. “These certifications are now in 44 states. Tens of thousands of these certifications have been delivered. I think it is an exciting thing for us and our area and an exciting thing for Mineral Wells ISD, and it is exciting for the students who get to go through that and benefit of getting these certifications walking out of high school and into a good-paying job.”

Also on hand Monday was Julian Alvarez III, a Texas Workforce Commission commissioner representing labor.

“What an exciting day for Mineral Wells,” said Alvarez.

He met with the Mineral Wells delegation in Austin and discussed applying for the JET grant.

“When I received the call that you received it I was doing back flips in my office,” he said. “These checks ... these are game changers. You are allowing people to see there are options that they have.”

Alvarez said the grants teach, train and prepare students for careers.

“Some of the most demanding jobs require a bachelors, associates degree or an industry-recognized credential,” he said.

Alvarez said it is important for students to know they don’t have to have a four-year college degree to be successful.

“We know now with what we have put together that you can be very successful with an industry-recognized credential, an associate’s degree or something that is as simple as an apprenticeship program and receiving a degree from that,” he said. “What you have put together here should be replicated in other parts of the state regardless if you are in Mineral Wells, or Dallas or wherever.”

Dr. John Kuhn

Mineral Wells Superintendent Dr. John Kuhn speaks at Monday’s grant presentation ceremony.

Mineral Wells ISD Superintendent Dr. John Kuhn thanked everyone who played a role in applying for the grant.

“It’s definitely a team effort to put together an application like this and then to be one of the recipients of such an award makes us very proud as a school,” Kuhn said. “Great things are happening in Mineral Wells, Texas, and great things are happening in Mineral Wells ISD.”

He said the addition of the distribution and logistics program is another way the district is helping students become successful and productive members of the community while meeting the needs of local businesses and manufacturers to fill jobs with skilled and certified individuals.

“Whatever the pathway laid out for that student based on their interests, based on their family desires, based on their own personal desires, we want to equip them to be contributors to our community, contributors to our state and contributors to our society,” Kuhn said. “Whatever direction that takes them. It’s not up to us to decide for them. It is up to them follow their passions and seize the opportunities they are given.”

Mineral Wells High School’s CTE offerings are agriculture, manufacturing, business, information technology, human services, hospitality and tourism, arts, audio/video, technology and communication, architecture and construction, health science, law, public safety, corrections & security and transportation, distribution, and logistics.

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