Tyler Junior College is one of four schools to share a $12 million federal grant aimed at training workers for new careers in grocery retail management.
The schools will use the funds to create affordable training programs that meet industry needs, invest in staff and educational resources, and provide access to free, digital learning materials, according to the Labor Department news release.
TJC applied for the grant after starting a retail management certificate program this fall.
The program is administered by the college in partnership with Tyler-based Brookshire Grocery Co. and the California-based Western Association of Food Chains, according to a TJC news release.
More than 100 students, all of them Brookshire employees, are enrolled in the 10-course program.
The courses are designed to prepare students for career opportunities and upward mobility in the retail industry, according to the TJC news release.
Credits earned through the program can potentially apply to more advanced educational programs such as an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, according to the news release.
TJC was the only Texas institution chosen as a lead college in this second installment of grant awards.
TJC President Dr. Mike Metke said this program is a great example of the benefits of working closely with local businesses.
“Brookshire’s CEO Rick Rayford — a TJC alumnus — encouraged us to help develop a training and certification program for retail management,” Metke said, according to the news release. “With Brookshire’s help, the program was launched this fall with more than 100 Brookshire’s employees and now can become part of a national model.”
TJC professors Lindsey Gainer and Deborah Welch lead the effort on the college’s end to put together the winning grant proposal.
“This grant is extremely difficult to win, and the fact that TJC is the only institution in Texas to be the lead college for this competition is just the icing on the cake,” Metke said, according to the news release. “Today, all of us have over 12 million reasons to celebrate.”
Brookshire Grocery Co. president and CEO Rick Rayford said the retail management certificate offered in partnership with the Western Association of Food Chains will strengthen the business and increase its employees’ ability to advance within the company, according to a news release.
“Grocery retailers in the western United States have already seen great results, as evidenced by the large number of current participants and graduates of the program,” he said, according to the news release.