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​Contact: Malcolm Hornsby

For immediate release — Dec. 3, 2019

(AUSTIN) — El Centro College has been named the latest recipient of the 2019 Star Award. The distinction, presented by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, recognizes institutions of higher learning for their exceptional contributions toward supporting student access and success.

El Centro, in collaboration with the Gilbreath-Reed Career and Technology Center, part of the Garland Independent School District, and the Garland Fire Department, developed the Triple Credit Model Fire Academy. The rigorous three-year training program is expected to produce much needed job-ready talent for state fire service and comparable positions.

“El Centro College’s initiative with the Garland Independent School District and the Garland Fire Department to develop the Triple Credit Model Fire Academy is an exemplary model for what can be accomplished through community partnerships that address the gap in middle-skills training for residents,” said Dr. Jose Adames, El Centro’s president. El Centro College is part of the Dallas County Community College District.

Hailing as the area’s first triple-credit firefighting and EMT model, students are eligible to receive up to 31 credit hours toward an associate degree, a fire science certificate and training to take the Texas Commission on Fire Protection exam.

“The Coordinating Board is proud to recognize three Texas public higher education institutions for innovative programs that support student success and the state’s 60X30TX plan,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Harrison Keller.

“There were many excellent programs to choose from among this year’s Star Award finalists, but the ACC, El Centro, and UTSA initiatives are remarkable for their efforts to lower the cost of education, provide job-readiness training and educational pathways, and support high-risk students,” Keller said.

The Coordinating Board selected El Centro among 45 nominations and 37 applications for this year’s Star Award. Other award recipients include The University of Texas at San Antonio and Austin Community College.

For more information about El Centro’s Triple Credit Model Fire Academy, contact Dr. Sherry Jones by email at

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