The Amarillo Independent School District (AISD) Board of Trustees voted Thursday evening to approve the school district’s financial participation in the THRIVE Amarillo Scholarship program.
The THRIVE Amarillo Scholarship is a “last money in” tuition assistance program that can be applied to up to 60 hours of tuition, books and fees at Amarillo College. Students from all four AISD high schools may apply for the scholarship funding provided they meet the program’s eligibility criteria.
“Our economy is only as strong as our workforce,” said Laura Street, Chairwoman of the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation (AEDC). “The THRIVE Scholarship will not only expand educational opportunities for our area’s students, but it will directly affect parents, small business owners and our area industry leaders through the economic impact the program will have upon our local economy.”
In August 2017, the AEDC Board of Directors voted unanimously to fund 20 percent of the THRIVE Scholarship for the next six years. The Amarillo Area Foundation, Amarillo College and AISD will provide the remaining 80 percent of the scholarship’s funding throughout the same time period.
“The AEDC’s support and participation in the THRIVE Scholarship program reflects our dedication to expanding and strengthening the workforce in our area. The THRIVE Scholarship quickly provides a pathway for our community to address the shortage of skills and educational attainment that has been recently outlined in the Align Amarillo Strategic Plan,” stated Barry Albrecht, President & CEO of the AEDC.
The Align Amarillo Strategic Plan, a study conducted by Avalanche Consulting in 2017 for the AEDC and City of Amarillo, highlighted that only 27 percent of Amarillo residents in the workforce have advanced degrees (bachelor's or higher) compared to the national average of 36 percent. Further, Amarillo's labor force grew 0.8 percent from 2010-2015, well below the national average of 2.9 percent and the Texas average of 8.5 percent.