Grant offers new careers for students at Lone Star College Conroe Center

By: Jennifer Kramer, LSC-Montgomery
| Published 11/04/2015


CONROE, TX – Lone Star College - Conroe Center is placing students on a fast track to a new career at little or no cost— thanks to the continuation of the Accelerate TEXAS Projects grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB).

THECB created Accelerate TEXAS in response to the growing demand for adult basic education services at a time when Texas needs more of these students to transition to college level degree and certificate programs. A total of 14 community colleges, including Lone Star College, now participate in Accelerate TEXAS via grant funding from THECB.

Those interested in learning more about Accelerate TEXAS are encouraged to participate in Accelerate TEXAS Week, November 9-13, which will highlight particular programs and student successes. They are also encouraged to attend a free presentation on Thursday, November 12, at 11:30 a.m., at LSC-Conroe Center.

Accelerate Lone Star offers assistance with a number of high-demand workforce programs for underprepared students. The program combines intensive advising, college and career readiness, contextualized support skill classes, and selected workforce certificates that move students through education to employment in just a few months. This program is funded and supported by THECB and The Workforce Commission, and was recently awarded $500,000 by JP Morgan Chase to train underemployed adults.

“We focus on transitioning students not only into jobs, but also to other college-level classes that will increase their employability,” said Martha Neely, system program director for the Accelerate Lone Star program. “We also work closely with Jobs for the Future (a national entity) and area employers to increase the success rates for students moving into the workforce upon completion. Now, with the funding from JP Morgan Chase, we will be able to train more people in the manufacturing sector.”

LSC-Conroe Center student Leamon Hopkins knows first hand how much the program means to people that don’t have the funds to attend college. Hopkins completed the master welder program through a grant offered by Accelerate Lone Star.

“It’s a great program because I have a family,” said Hopkins. “And I couldn’t afford to go back to school. The grant is what gave me the chance to go back. It also adds to my resume so now I am working on finding a better job than what I have now.”

According to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, at least 60 percent of Texas jobs will require a career certificate or college degree by 2020, and 44 percent of Texans over age 25 have never been to college, let alone earned a credential. THECB created Accelerate TEXAS in response to the growing demand for adult basic education services at a time when Texas needs more of these students to transition to college-level degree and certificate programs.

“Many students come to us with little training or no hope of either a skilled career or a college education," said Pat McDougall, fast track to careers program manager at LSC-University Park. “We're able to help them get back on the right path and find a career that fits them. We're grateful for that opportunity."

So far, Accelerate TEXAS has served 551 students at LSC-Conroe Center, LSC-North Harris, LSC-Victory Center, LSC-University Park, and LSC-Tomball campuses. The program has a total passing rate of 87 percent among those who first began taking classes.

A variety of career certificates are available through the grant, including certified nurse aide (CNA), accounting assistant, phlebotomy, welding, machining, roustabout or floor-hand, automotive technician, and patient care technician (PCT).

Applicants will complete an adult basic education (TABE) test, which is offered at different LSC locations and local Workforce Solutions offices. Candidates are selected based on the range in which their test score falls. Additional requirements for all healthcare certificates include a background check, immunizations, and a Social Security card.

For more information, visit; or contact Martha Neely, grant project director at LSC-Conroe Center, at, or (936) 521-4530; or Esther Stokes, advisor at Lone Star College-University Park, at, or (936) 521-4552.

LSC-Montgomery is located at 3200 College Park Drive, one-half mile west of Interstate 45, between Conroe and The Woodlands. For more information about the college, call (936) 273-7000, or visit

Lone Star College System has been opening doors to a better community for more than 40 years. Founded in 1973, LSCS remains steadfast in its commitment to student success and credential completion. Today, with 78,000 students in credit classes, and a total enrollment of more than 90,000, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and one of the fastest-growing community college systems in the nation. Dr. Steve Head is the chancellor of LSCS, which consists of six colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, LSC-Tomball and LSC-University Park, seven centers, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit