Perkins Grant Provides Technology Funds for LSCO

November 1, 2020

Lamar State College Orange’s plan to spend federal money to support programs that train our future workforce has been approved following a local needs assessment.

The Perkins Grant supports career and technical education – everything from accounting to welding, said Kristin Walker, Dean of Health, Workforce, and Technical Studies at LSCO.

The required local needs assessment for the Perkins Grant was one of the first big projects Walker took on after joining the LSCO family only a few months ago.  In order to be approved for the Perkins Grant funding, Walker and her team had to look at six different areas of LSCO’s programs to assess, identify gaps, and root causes for each. The areas were:

  1. Student performance: This includes graduation, retention, and enrollment.
  2. Size, scope, and quality of program: A goal is to define what LSCO considers quality and better measure programs.
  3. Labor Market Alignment: LSCO worked with the local workforce development board to align local workforce needs with what the college is doing in terms of training students.
  4. CTE programs of study implementation: LSCO works with local high schools to offer career and technology programs as dual credit options that lead to college programs.
  5. Faculty/staff recruitment, retention, and training
  6. Improving access and equity: This area was a major emphasis from the Coordinating Board to assist students with unique and special circumstances.

With the comprehensive local needs assessment approval and grant award, Walker said LSCO will be better able to purchase equipment and technology, send faculty to training and conferences, and support students in need.

“Something we’re going to focus on is connecting students with industry,” she said. “We are purchasing Career Coach, an interactive software, to be the true beginning of a career center. The online service helps students find careers that match their strengths and discover programs at LSCO. When students have a goal and plans to complete the goal they are more likely to complete and complete timely. This is one of the objectives to adding Career Coach to LSCO’s student services and resources.”

Walker said the program will be a resource for internship opportunities, jobs, creating resumes, and more.

“This is a significant need when you talk about training students this day and age. You need to connect students to employers and we are hoping this will make it easier,” she added.

While a good portion of the Perkins Grant funds are spent behind the scenes, Walker said the end goal is for LSCO to be the place where hope meets opportunity in career and technology.

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