Investing in the Future: HCC’s Talent Strong Pathways Grant and the Importance of Credentialed Education

Jourdan Simmons, Student Writer

Grads Entering the new “Labor/Workforce”
Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash


Houston Community College (HCC) has been awarded a whopping $16 million Talent Strong Pathways Grant, administered by the Texas Success Center. The grant aims to help colleges increase the number of Texans who possess credentials that can prepare them for high-demand careers with a living wage. HCC’s Chancellor, Cesar Maldonado, has been steadfast in his commitment to provide academic and occupational pathways that lead to successful education for students.

The goal is to ensure that the graduating class of 2023 is well-equipped to meet future workforce demands by pursuing competitive credentials that can compete on a global scale.

One of HCC’s candidates for graduation, Bianca Slater, has set her sights on diving headfirst into becoming a productive member of the virtual workforce. Slater is determined to climb the success ladder as fast as she can, with no intentions of wasting any time on the educational sidelines.

In an interview with Slater, she spoke about how the grant opportunity aligns perfectly with her aspirations and expectations for the future.
The following was an interview conducted between myself and Mrs. Slater and it captures the marriage between the expectations of the grant and the future of students looking to capitalize on this opportunity.

Q:  What did it take for you to follow through with graduation?

A:  It took persistence and to keep following through knowing that my goal was in reach. I had a mentor that would call me every week to ask me “what are my goals?” and even when I felt like being lazy, I had to keep on going and going with my goals every week so I could keep on passing the test. And if I turned something in and got something back , I’d have to identify something that was wrong and then fix it and bring it back and I also had a little “bar thing” that would turn green, showing me what was complete, giving me a percentage of what was complete; like 5% complete, 10% complete and so on. That percentage really helped me realize that I was close and helped me improve and push through my laziness and wanting to just sit there.  But realizing that I was getting closer to 100% inspired me to keep going.


Q: What obstacles did you have to overcome? Can you share?

A:  I had two major defining obstacles, being ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) where  I could easily get distracted or I could procrastinate or seek perfection in something, is a huge obstacle because it sucks up so much time which is something that I have had to deal with my whole life. You may sit there and think that you are not working hard on something but you have to push through it and use strategies to overcome this obstacle; such as having a visual (that I talked about earlier)like  the completion thing that told me how close I was to completing an assignment. I also had another obstacle of having children at a young age. This meant because I could not afford daycare, I had to find time that was singularly for me.


Q:  Are you going to further your education?

A:  Yes. I feel like because I have ADHD, I need to take the “bull by the horns” and further my education as much as possible ro get my financial goals and my lifestyle goals accomplished. I plan on getting a Masters Degree in Special Education also, continuing from my Bachelors in Special Education to the Masters. Also it can be very tempting to put things on hold; but if you put things on hold, they rarely get accomplished and are especially hard if you have a disorder like ADD.


Q: How does that parley into real life? Why did you use Special Education and how did that experience further your education?

A:  Life happens! Special Education has shaped my future. By having a disability and knowing how I can help others work through their disorder to maximize their potential is a real blessing. If others maximize their learning, that means that they will have a better life and lifestyle choices just because they can learn to work through it. I originally did not choose Special Education but the more and more that I have worked in it I believe that there is something for me to give to others.


Q:  Is there any advice that you give to future graduates?

A:  My advice would be to just keep holding on. You’re going to want to stop and you’re going to want to do other things but stick to your plan no matter what. When you accomplish it, It will be such a reward.