ABC13's virtual job fair introduces job seekers to college programs flushed with cash

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- During our ABC13 virtual job fairs, you can learn about programs, including college certificate courses that are flushed with cash to help people return to work. We want to share some success stories.

The video above is from a previous story.

Oswaldo Avendano can't help but smile when he wears his white coat.

"I always wanted to go to medical school," Avendano said. "It's still my goal. I'm currently applying to medical school."

It's a dream he knew would be a challenge after moving to the U.S. from Venezuela.

SEE RELATED STORY: Woman who found work through ABC13's job fair while being homeless is now paying it forward

"Health care systems are fairly different from over there, so I wanted to see a nice introduction to see how things work first," Avendano explained.

He decided against taking out large loans, so instead, he took part in Houston Community College's medical assistance certificate program.

"After you complete the program, the program director puts you into internships so you're able to have hands-on, real-life scenarios," Avendano said.

These are programs more students are finding their way into. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the government pumped relief money into community colleges.

There are 10 in the Houston area where you can learn new skills in a variety of industries, including information technology, health care and aerospace.

If you're interested, ABC13 partners with Workforce Solutions each Thursday and hosts a job fair. For more information, you can also call the hotline at 713-243-6663 on week days from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In the past 18 months, the partnership has helped more than 350 people find jobs. We also offer ways for people to learn new skills.

SEE RELATED: ABC13 celebrates year-and-a-half of Who's Hiring fair with over 350 people landing jobs

"There is more money available now than I have seen in my 15 years of doing this work," said Michelle Castrow, a spokesperson for Workforce Solutions. "There's more money available for scholarships."

Avendano graduated from the program seven years ago. He went on to get his bachelor's degree.

Now, he's back at HCC where he's working in the program that gave him his start.

"I see it as a way of giving back," Avendano said. "All the positive energy that they gave me and how they encouraged me to go forward. It's my way to pay back to HCC."

If you want to learn more about adult education programs, visit the Workforce Solutions website.

For updates on this story, follow Nick Natario on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.