Donna ISD’s nationally recognized Career and Technical (CTE) Welding Program received further acknowledgement in the form of a big check.

The welding program was awarded a $208,383 Jobs and Education for Texas (JET) grant from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) at a grant presentation Thurs., January 17.

Joining the celebration from Donna ISD were members of the Board of Trustees Eva C. Watts, Dr. Maricela Valdez and David De Los Rios, Superintendent Dr. Hafedh Azaiez, and administrators, faculty and students from DISD’s welding program.

Julian Alvarez, TWC Commissioner Representing Labor and Robert D. Thomas, TWC Commissioner Representing the Public presented the check to a large crowd which included representatives from the Governor’s Office, Hidalgo County, Texas Workforce Solutions, and Texas State Technical College.

“It’s great to be back in the Valley and joining our community leaders to help students succeed and our economy grow,” said Labor Commissioner Alvarez. “There’s a direct connection between high-skills and good careers, and TWC is committed to helping prepare Texas students for the jobs of tomorrow with the assistance of JET grants.”


The JET grant program allocates $10 million each biennium to help school districts and other institutions pay for expenses associated with the development of career and technical education programs. This year, Donna ISD was among 13 entities in Texas selected to receive the funding.

Superintendent Azaiez said DISD’s welding program will benefit significantly from the grant.

“We’re ecstatic and grateful for the Texas Workforce Commission’s support in granting us more than $208,000 in JET grant funding,” said Superintendent Azaiez. “This is the first time our school district has received such a grant, which will be used to enhance our CTE Welding Program with the purchase of much-needed equipment. Our students will benefit tremendously and be better prepared to tackle their post high school endeavors.”

Donna ISD CTE Director David Moreno played a major role in preparing the winning grant proposal.

“Donna ISD and our CTE department strive to expand opportunities for students to explore their interests and develop their skills while still in high school,” said Moreno. “Thank you to the Texas Workforce Commission for their commitment in supporting our district and awarding Donna ISD’s Welding program this grant. It will allow our students the opportunity to expand their skill set and be more competitive and marketable once they enter the workforce.”


Morneo said some of the much needed equipment has already been purchased. It was available for viewing to guests attending the presentation.

DISD Senior JayP Sandoval spoke on behalf of the welding students.

“I want to thank Mr. Moreno and my teacher Mr. Garza for doing everything they can to get us the best equipment and modern technology that’s out there in the industry and for just being there for us,” Sandoval.