Students pursuing a General Educational Development diploma through the Brownsville Independent School District can also now train and get certified as a phlebotomist through TSTC’s Workforce Training and Continuing Education department. The offering comes with a new partnership between Texas State Technical College and the BISD Adult Continuing Education program.
“This is the first time we have partnered with BISD in this capacity,” said Myra De Leon, Workforce Training and Continuing Education project manager. “Establishing relationships like this allows us to provide people in our region with opportunity and better jobs.”
Debbie Alford, BISD Adult Continuing Education administrator, said this partnership fulfills the requirements of a $1.6 million annual TWC grant the district to help GED students gain employment.
“TSTC has a wide variety of programs and certifications, and that allows us to offer more opportunities to our students,” said Alford. “They understand the needs of our adult population, and that has allowed this partnership to be successful.”
Course looks to meet area demand
The Phlebotomy Technician course was selected for this first cohort, which began last month. It was chosen due industry demand throughout the Rio Grande Valley, according to De Leon.
“There is a high demand for skilled phlebotomists in our local medical clinics, hospitals and plasma centers,” said De Leon. “That’s how we knew this program would be the perfect fit for these students.”
Students in the program must complete 40 GED hours to begin the phlebotomy course. It is free for them and runs for eight weeks. After three to four weeks in the classroom, training continues with clinical rotations at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen. Upon successful completion of the phlebotomy course, students will receive their certification and can obtain employment as a phlebotomist anywhere in Texas.
“This is the partnership’s first cohort, but past phlebotomy cohorts we have offered have proven that these skills are in demand by graduates finding immediate employment,” said De Leon. “Some have even shown interest in pursuing other careers within the health field and have gone on to enroll in TSTC’s Vocational Nursing program.”
Looking to grow
Both De Leon and Alford agree that they hope to see this partnership develop and grow. They hope to increase the number of courses. Both entities are planning to add a welding course next year.
“This partnership is offering great opportunities for our students,” said Alford. “We hope to see it grow and look forward to the future.”
De Leon shares the same sentiment.
“This is a great opportunity for Cameron County and our region,” she said. “We’re providing training that is providing great career opportunities.”