Mega Doctor News
By Amanda Sotelo
With the goal of increasing the Hispanic-Latino representation in health care careers, South Texas College was awarded a Bank of America Progresando Grant to support enrollment efforts and expand the college’s capacity to meet workforce demands.
The award, in the amount of $250,000, will be used two ways, to help students cover state licensure exams and license fees and to support non-credit health care pathway programs.
STC Dean for Nursing and Allied Health Jayson Valerio, Ph.D., said many of STC’s students, as Hispanic and Latinos, are underrepresented in the health care field, and colleges like STC and grants like the ones awarded by Bank of America play a pivotal role in achieving health care workforce diversity.
“A lot of our students come from disadvantaged backgrounds and this Progresando grant will help them fulfill their dreams of pursuing careers in the health field,” said Valerio. “This is going to provide deserving students, in need, with financial aid to pay for their state licensure exams and get them into the workforce.”
One of the students who is grateful for the help she will receive because of the Bank of America Progresando Grant is Associate Degree in Nursing student Betsabe Berumen.
The 40-year-old, mother of three, said it’s been a lifelong dream to become an oncology nurse, but because finances are tight being a one-income family, paying for licensure exams and fees can be challenging, but now she can breathe a sigh of relief.
“This is a blessing,” she said. “This is going to get me one step closer to becoming the nurse I’ve always wanted to be. This is big for me and my family. It gives me, us, peace of mind. It will make my dreams come true.”
She added that for students who are struggling, like her, this is a game changer.
“Thank you STC and Dr. Valerio for always fighting and pushing for your students; for genuinely caring about our success. This is proof that students are No. 1,” she said. “And thank you Bank of America, for contributing to your community. We appreciate it more than you know.”
A portion of the grant will also be used by STC’s Foundation to provide scholarships and help for students completing courses through the college’s Department of Continuing, Professional and Workforce Education to hire a Health Care Instructor and two Student Success Specialists to support students in General Education Diploma (GED) and non-credit health care pathway programs such as phlebotomy.
“This grant is going to help build our capacity for non-credit pathways,” said Matthew Hebbard, STC vice president of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. “We’ll be able to increase the number of industry-recognized credentials we offer that will lead to employment in high-skilled, high-wage jobs.”
Hebbard added that there are more than 100,000 people in the region that do not have a high school diploma or GED, and grants like Bank of America’s Progresando will help lift people out of poverty and open doors to opportunities.
STC’s Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Economic Development Rodney Rodriguez, Ph.D., said the Progresando grant is establishing a relationship between STC and Bank of America and the collaboration is integral to the college, the STC Foundation and the resources STC offers its students.
“Students can begin to see assistance from this grant as early as the fall semester and will extend over the next couple of years,” said Rodriguez. “The collaboration between STC and Bank of America to make this grant possible is increasing our services, so we can eliminate the barriers towards a post-secondary credential that many of our students face daily.”
Registration for fall 2022 is under way. Classes begin August 22.