Consider it a chance for a better start.

HCC is looking for hard-working men and women whose primary language is Spanish to enroll in its new Integrated Education & Training IET/EL Civics Program.

“We are seeking people who have jobs that do not require special training or certification and want to step up to a better job with higher pay,” said program champion Amy Felan.

For those who qualify and enroll, the special program will help students improve their English skills while they earn a Level 1 Workforce Training Certificate at the same time.

The reward? A grant that covers most, if not all, the tuition required for a Level 1 certificate.

“A Level 1 certificate teaches the basic skills needed for many career fields,” Felan explained. “HCC has Level 1 certificates in more than a dozen fields”—specifically, Accounting Payroll Specialist,  Automotive Technician, Banking & Finance, Certified Nurse Aide(CNA), Computer Systems Networking, Corrosion Technology, Cosmetology Facial Specialist, Electrical Technician, HVAC, Law Office Clerk, Logistics Technician, Medical Business Office Profession, and Welding Technician.

The IET/El Civics grant pays $1,800 towards tuition and books. While tuition varies from program to program, that’s usually enough to cover tuition. In many cases, it covers textbooks, too.

There are some requirements, Felan noted.

“This is a full-time commitment,” the instructor said. “Students will be required to take a 40-hour online English course, a short college readiness class called ‘Transitions,’ and an additional English as a Second Language course, as well as classes associated with their workforce training.”

Students usually complete in two semesters.

“I teach the Transitions course,” Felan said. “It is helpful because it teaches students how to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and communicate these appropriately to potential employers. It teaches them how to discover their learning styles and make the most of their time in college.”

To be eligible, prospective students will take an English proficiency test.

“We’re looking for people with intermediate to high English language skills,” Felan explained, “because these students will be placed in regular college courses.”

Students will likely take classes at multiple HCC campuses. For instance, a student seeking a Level 1 certification in CNA (as a nursing assistant), will take those courses at the Coleman campus in the Texas Medical Center, but will take Felan’s Transitions course at HCC-Southeast on I-45 near I-610 S.

“It requires a commitment, but the rewards can help a person take his or her career and earnings to the next level,” Felan said. “Students will become more proficient in English, have better job interview skills, and gain a Level 1 certificate that can help them obtain a better job.

Further, “the Level 1 certificate is a first-step toward an associate degree. At any time, a student can return to gain more education—and grow professionally even more.”

HCC is hoping for 300 students in its IET/El Civics program by next July.

Interested? Learn more at HCCS.edu/adult-education/iet-el-civics, or call 713.718.5358.