Amarillo College receives grant to help fund Earn & Learn program

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Adams Earn & Learn program, through Amarillo College, has received additional funding because of a substantial grant, the college announced Wednesday.

According to a news release from the college, Amarillo College has received a $1 million grant from the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation for the program, which is aimed to increase work-based learning throughout the Texas Panhandle. The grant is expected to support coordinators for the program as well as fund stipends for STEM and healthcare students as well as project evaluation.

“Amarillo College and I are incredibly blessed to work alongside such visionaries as Carl Thoma and the Thoma Foundation to reimagine the economy of rural America and redefine higher education,” Amarillo College President Russell Lowery-Hart said in the release. “By positioning the future of learning to intersect with a work-based Earn and Learn model, Amarillo College and the Thoma Foundation are creating a structure that could be the innovation to save higher education from itself.”

According to the release, the Thoma Foundation expanded its reach to include education grantmaking in response to the impact of COVID-19 on various areas. The foundation has awarded more than $800,000 in grants that support arts education, career and technical education, college access and entrepreneurship development throughout rural and underserved communities across the American Southwest.

But the gift from the foundation to Amarillo College for the Adams Earn & Learn Program is the largest in the foundation’s history, the release stated.

“We are impressed by the entrepreneurial leadership at Amarillo College and believe this initiative has the potential to disrupt higher education,” Carl Thoma, the founder of the Thoma Foundation, said in the release. “The Earn and Learn program recognizes the importance of not only aligning the workforce to current local market labor needs, but also future-proofing the workforce by building relevant technology skills. We’re proud to be partners in making Amarillo and the broader Texas Panhandle an attractive location for new economic development and a wonderful place to live.”

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