ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Funded by the Development Corporation of Abilene (DCOA), NEXTuniversity has been providing scholarships and advancement opportunities for Abilene ISD students since 2019.

This program helps Abilene students achieve in the fields that interest them, such as avionics, electrical engineering, welding, manufacturing, and information technology, while also increasing the amount of young people entering the Abilene workforce.

“They want to create a talent pipeline from high schools to trade schools into the workforce,” says NEXTuniversity career coach Elisha Seca.

At Monday’s event, 17 seniors from Abilene High, ATEMS, and Cooper signed their letters of intent to attend either TSTC or Cisco College in the next school year.

“It’s freed up some funds and let some pressure off of my back,” said Abilene High senior and scholarship recipient Natalie Pickering.

Growing the Abilene workforce also helps to attract new business to the Key City, according to DCOA Chief Operating Officer Julie Johncox.

“And it helps us as the DCOA to recruit companies to have an educated workforce,” said John Cox.