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Connally ISD receives $275,000 grant from Texas Workforce Commission

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Posted at 6:20 PM, May 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 10:55:23-04

WACO, Texas — Connally ISD started their Diesel Mechanic and Automotive program last year.

"It's really a neat program for the kids to be workforce-ready before they leave our doors," Career Tech Principal Sara Schnelle said of the program.

That program is now expanding after the district received a $275,000 grant from the Texas Workforce Commission.

"It's a great opportunity for our kids to learn more about the diesel program, how to work with the engines and all of the components of it," Schnelle said. "We're going to have a lot of trainers in the classroom they wouldn't otherwise have access to and really get them the full complete idea of what they're going to be doing in that field."

The school applied for the grant with the help of program sponsor Holt Cat. The company offers students part-time work or internships. Regional Sales Manager Don Hardwick told 25 News the expansion will help them when it comes to training.

"The trainers they'll buy with these grants will give them access to learning and actual trouble-shooting, not on a real machine but in practice," he said.

As the need for trade jobs continues to grow, Schnelle said the school wants to set their students up to succeed in a field they can have a long career.

"When we choose a program that we're going to offer to our students, we go to Texas Workforce Commission and see what jobs in the area will make our kids employable and that's how we determine how we focus our kids what programs we're going to offer to them," she said.

After graduation students can continue their education at TSTC, keep their jobs with Holt Cat, or explore one of the many other opportunities that can come for diesel mechanics.

"It's a good quality job, it's in demand and the demand is not going to wane," Hardwick said. "It's not going to go down."