On Thursday, Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis in support of the Eagle Ford Shale College Consortium's application to the Department of Labor's Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grants Program. The Consortium, a coalition of six community colleges, is seeking funding to develop the educational infrastructure necessary to support the training of qualified workers for the oil and gas industry in South Texas. A bipartisan coalition of nine legislators signed onto this letter.
"The discovery of the Eagle Ford Shale has carried tremendous economic benefits and opportunity for our community, and it's important that we leverage every federal resource available to promote its expansion," said Cuellar. "I strongly support the Eagle Ford Shale College Consortium's application for this grant to expand and improve our ability to give South Texans the education they need to succeed while also providing the Eagle Ford Shale area the qualified workforce it needs to help our community prosper. By granting these funds to the Eagle Ford Shale College Consortium proposal, we would be making an important long term investment in all communities in the Eagle Ford Shale footprint."
The Eagle Ford Shale College Consortium's objective is to prepare current and at-risk trade affected workers for employment in high-wage, high-skill occupations. It seeks to accomplish this by expanding and improving responsiveness to the employment and training needs of the burgeoning exploration, extraction and services industries working in the Eagle Ford Shale oil and gas play of South Texas. The Consortium is comprised of six community colleges: Laredo Community College, South Texas College, Southwest Texas College, Victoria College, Coastal Bend College and Alamo Community College.
"Funding this proposal will increase attainment of industry-recognized certifications and credentials and capacitate trade affected workers in high-wage, high-skill occupations in the oil and gas industry. This project will assist our constituents obtain employment in good jobs where they are likely to remain employed and earn family-sustaining wages," wrote the lawmakers.
Congressman Cuellar recently hosted a delegation from the Eagle Ford Shale Consortium in Washington, D.C. for the first of a series of multi-agency meetings to discuss and highlight the many issues related to the development of communities impacted by the Eagle Ford Shale, especially opportunities for federal support of workforce development and housing and possible grant opportunities.
The letter was also signed by Congressman Francisco Canseco (TX-23), Congressman Lloyd Dogget (TX- 25), Congressman Blake Farenthold (TX-27), Congressman Charles Gonzalez (TX-20), Congressman Gene Green (TX-29), Congressman Ruben Hinojosa (TX-15), Congressman Michael McCaul (TX-10) and Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21).