Harlingen Cotton Committee Awards First Bale Scholarships to Harlingen Welding Students

Welding student uses the skills they're learning and how they're using their scholarship.
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January 22, 2021

Harlingen Cotton Committee Awards First Bale Scholarships to Students at Southern Careers Institute’s Harlingen Campus

$10,000 in scholarships will benefit students in SCI’s welding program


Southern Careers Institute students at our Harlingen campus were awarded the Harlingen Cotton Committee’s (HCC) first-bale scholarships totaling $10,000.

From left to right: Nikki Munoz, Rene Lopez, Kara Alcocer, Sam Simmons Sr., Sam Simmons Jr., Scott Hooks, Steve Krenek, Leonor Fortiscue


Harlingen, TX – This morning, 20 Southern Careers Institute (SCI) students were awarded the Harlingen Cotton Committee’s (HCC) first-bale scholarships. The scholarships, totaling $10,000, will benefit Rio Grande Valley students enrolled in the welding program at SCI’s Harlingen campus. For the past 66 years, the nation’s first bale of cotton has been harvested in the Rio Grande Valley. Monies raised from the auction of the first bale and the annual fundraising event are given as scholarships to local students pursuing higher education. This is the first year that SCI students will receive HCC scholarships.

“We are extremely grateful that the HCC has chosen SCI to receive these time-honored scholarships,” said Scott Hooks, SCI’s Harlingen Campus Director. “Despite the many adversities brought on by 2020, our students remained committed to their education. The HCC contribution will be invaluable in helping prepare our students for careers as welders in a competitive job market.”

The Harlingen Cotton Committee and the Algodón Club have collaborated for several years — with a fundraising event that features both the First Bale live auction and a silent auction — to celebrate cotton and its importance to the Rio Grande Valley economy. Due to the pandemic, this year, the groups held a blind auction in November, using mail-in bids to raise the scholarship funds. Agrichemical company BASF purchased the first bale for $7,000 and an additional $3,000 was raised through the fundraising efforts of the committee.

“In deciding where to award the scholarships, we look at programs that are increasing educational attainment, training the workforce, and supporting our biggest industries in the Rio Grande Valley,” said Sam Simmons Jr., HCC President. “Southern Careers Institute’s welding program fit the bill and we are happy to support their efforts.”

To be eligible for the scholarships, students must be entering the second, third, or fourth module of SCI’s welding program. HCC will choose the final recipients, considering academic and financial standing. SCI Harlingen will hold a ceremony on January 22 to award the scholarships.

SCI’s welding program can be completed in as little as seven months, and the job placement rate for Harlingen graduates was 88.78 percent for the 2019-2020 term. Students practice their skills in a hands-on environment and learn subjects like safety, machine operation, blueprint reading, fusion and fabrication, and welding techniques, in preparation for work in a variety of related careers. SCI has three campuses in the Rio Grande Valley – Harlingen, Pharr, and Brownsville – where students can train for careers in the medical, technology, beauty, and business fields, and in skilled trades.


About Southern Careers Institute

Southern Careers Institute began serving Texas students in 1960. They offer a diverse list of programs that create employment-ready students who can go on to serve their community. With eight convenient locations in Austin, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Harlingen, Pharr, San Antonio NW Loop 410, San Antonio SW Military Drive, and Waco, Southern Careers Institute offers programs in:

  • Business: Administrative Assistant, Business Administration, Business Accounting Specialist
  • Beauty: Cosmetology Operator
  • Medical: Medical Assistant, Medical Billing and Coding, Medical Office Specialist, Nurse Aide, Pharmacy Technician
  • Technology: Computer Support Specialist, Software Development, Data Science, Cyber Security
  • Trades: Automotive Service Technician, Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator, Electrical Technician, HVAC, Welding

SCI also offers an online and hybrid curriculum. 

This article was published on: 01/25/21 11:02 AM

What SCI Students Are Saying

"Just finished school for welding. Had the best experience with Southern Careers Institute, and had a lot of fun with my buddies. Already working at SpaceX. SCI is the place to be guys! Don't wait any longer, sign up!”


Enrique H.

"I recently achieved my dream of becoming a CDL driver, passing my CDL exams at our local DMV in Edinburg. Mr. Gonzalez was such a great instructor, even though it was raining I passed with flying colors!”


Juan L.
Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator

“I made a complete career change when I started my training at Southern Careers Institute. I needed a stable career to continue providing for my growing family. SCI provided me with the medical terminology and know how that I needed to understand and acquire a career in the medical field. SCI taught me that it doesn’t matter where you are in life right now; you always have room to advance and learn.”


Denise S.
Medical Assistant

“I am extremely grateful for the assistance I received from SCI’s Career Services team. I enjoy where I work and what I do. SCI has helped me succeed in life by getting me the necessary education and by making me a stronger and more confident person.”


Raquel S.

“Once I graduated from SCI, I had a sense of accomplishment that helped me through the job search process. SCI provided me with the opportunity to brush up on my skills, extend my accounting knowledge, and they boosted my self-confidence. I went to work two days after my last day of school.”


Annette D.
Business Accounting

“When my youngest child graduated from high school, I told my husband that it was my time. I went back to school to change careers after spending 37 years in the business field. At SCI, the instructors are professional, and they care about what they are teaching you, as well as expect you to give 100% in return. I had problems understanding how to draw in syringes and give injections. I requested extra help from a knowledgeable instructor, and I was able to receive one-on-one training. Today, I draw injections for approximately 100 patients each week. I am very confident in what I’ve learned. SCI has given me the chance to do what I always wanted to do. Thank you for my education. I am doing wonderful.”


Bonnie M
Medical Assistant

“I am now a certified Lab Tech. SCI helped me get an externship, and I came out with a job. After my little sister had cancer, I knew I wanted a career in the medical field that allowed me to help others. I am happy about what I do.”


Sidney B
Medical Assistant

“The best place ever!! Ms.Tonia rocks she is the best teacher… I love going to school my time there is amazing.”


Andrea Garcia

“Southern Careers went beyond my expectations. Very impressed. The assistance I got from Career Services is truly amazing. They really went out of their way to get me placed. They really care and I am grateful to all of them.”


Olga C.

“Southern Careers Institute totally surpassed my expectations. Once I finished school, the Career Services team helped me find a job. I would tell anyone thinking about starting career training that you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain. I wish I would have started my training sooner.”


Valerie D.

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