The Socorro Independent School District Community Education program has been named a finalist in the National Rethink Adult Education Challenge by the U.S. Department of Education.

“We have a phenomenal team to get these things done in our district,” said Anthony Fraga, SISD director of community education. “We all have the potential for greatness, and I believe our district strives for it every day.”

SISD was one of 95 finalists announced as part of the Challenge, a $ 750,000 competition to advance preschool education and enable adult students to discover new insights and experiences.

The SISD Community Education program will now enter the next phase of the competition and compete for prizes totaling $ 750,000.

For the Rethink Adult Education Challenge, SISD submitted an idea to expand the Community Education Pre-Apprenticeship Program to other areas of the construction industry.

Currently, the SISD Adult Education Department has an extremely successful pre-school program in the electrical field.

SISD was selected by a panel of experts to move on to the next phase, the Stage 2 virtual accelerator. During the second phase, the finalists will have access to digital resources such as case studies, various activities and webinars with adult education experts to develop detailed program proposals.

Apprenticeships serve as a pathway in careers in various industries, and adult learners often encounter obstacles or challenges in trying to access them.

Before apprenticeship, these barriers are removed by equipping adult learners with the knowledge and skills they need to enter and be successful in apprenticeship training. This can expand access to rewarding careers across the country.

“If we win the grand prize, we hope to continue expanding the construction industry,” said Mary Jo Ochoa-Hernandez, career path and transition coordinator. “When this pandemic happened, we were all sent home except for our construction workers. I think we can definitely expand this trade here at SISD. “

SISD will be in phase 2 of the challenge from February to June, working with the experts to develop the proposal for a pre-apprenticeship program.

A jury then examines the proposals for stage 2 and selects a main winner and up to five runners-up. The challenge will be awarded $ 250,000 to the grand winner, and up to five runners-up will receive a minimum of $ 100,000 each for their programs.

“I think this will be a great community building opportunity,” said Dr. Eduardo Honold, SISD Community Education Grant Compliance Specialist. “I think our department has always had this innovation philosophy and we’re really always looking for ways to challenge ourselves and ultimately provide better opportunities for the community.”