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Midland college, MISD partner to increase college, career readiness

Local philanthropy commits $6 million over for years for C3 program

The workforce shortage in the Permian Basin points to a gap in educational attainment. More than half of jobs in the area require postsecondary credentials, however fewer than 40 percent of Midlanders hold an associate degree or higher.


Midland College and Midland ISD are working with local funders on a project to increase the district’s CCMR rate – Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) measurement of graduating seniors who are college, career, or military ready – while boosting enrollment and completion of degree or credential programs at Midland College. Launching in fall 2024, College & Career Connections (C3), is a local initiative modeled after a successful program in Tarrant County. 


Local funders including Scharbauer Foundation, Abell-Hanger Foundation, Henry Foundation, Fasken Foundation Pevehouse Family Foundation, Warren Charitable Trust, and Diamondback Energy will share costs to build the program framework and support C3 for the first four years before the district or college benefit from program-related revenue.


Midland College recently hired Lori Haltom as the executive director of the program. Haltom, the former Goddard Junior High principal, has 20 years of education experience. She is passionate about the shared vision of MC and MISD that will benefit Midland students.


“Our ultimate objective is to get students where they need to be when they graduate and in the years leading up to it,” Haltom said.


Haltom will lead a team of 10 C3 coaches who will work with Midland ISD students, and their parents or guardians, beginning in the sixth grade and continuing through high school graduation. The coaches will be assigned to MISD campuses based on the feeder system of elementary schools to junior highs to high schools. For example, a C3 counselor assigned to work with sixth graders at Emerson Elementary will continue working with those students when they advance to seventh grade at Goddard Junior High. C3 counselors assigned to Legacy Freshman will also serve at Legacy High School.


Staci Duncan, the newly hired MISD C3 coordinator, will work alongside Haltom and act as a liaison between the district and the college. A former Abell Junior High math teacher and counselor at Midland High School and Bowie Fine Arts Academy, Duncan has been with MISD for more than 15 years.


Duncan said she sees the role of C3 coaches to enhance and support the work of school counselors.


“What I’m most looking forward to is seeing the opportunities that it’s going to create for all students at MISD,” she said about the program.


C3 staff will facilitate career and interest surveys and career plans for students beginning in sixth grade. Through the C3 program, sixth grade students also will have the opportunity to visit the Midland College campus.

In seventh and eighth grade, students will create four-year plans, work on college-match exercises, and explore career opportunities through a digital platform created for the C3 program that will expose students to hundreds of regionally specific careers.


High school students will continue to review their four-year plans and participate in college-match exercises. C3 coaches also will help high school students navigate college and career assessments including the PSAT, TSIA2, SAT, and ACT.


MISD parents and guardians will be invited to attend workshops focusing on coursework options such as dual credit, enhanced academic services (EAS), and AP courses; programs of study and CTE dual credit; and financial planning and paying for post-secondary education. C3 will work to ensure Midland students make an intentional transition from high school to college, career, or military service.


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