Spring Break may have already hit some of your campuses while other breaks will begin over the next two weeks. What does that mean? Usually that half the spring semester is over (where’d the time go?), and the 2017 TACCM conference, #connecTACCM, is not that far away.
This year’s conference chair, Nick Alvarado with Texas State Technical College, and his committees are hard at work to offer a conference well-worth attending June 19-21 in Downtown Austin at the Omni Hotel. Conference details are available on the TACCM website.
Make plans now and register, reserve your hotel room and even submit a presentation proposal. You can also pick up some new social media skills and Segway your way downtown to showoff what you’ve learned as part of this year’s pre-conference session!
Your TACCM membership is one of the best opportunities to connect with other marketing, public relations, design, web and social media, and recruitment professionals from community colleges not only in your region but also from across the state. Get connected during #connecTACCM!
TACCM continues our #TXsuccess Campaign collaboration with the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) with communication efforts targeting legislators during the 85th Texas Legislative Session, which will continue meeting at least through May.
Our successes and economic impact across the state need to be heard! We need you to participate!
Share your success stories using #TXsuccess and #txlege. TACCM Web & Social Media Director Traci Pitman with Texarkana College continues to lead the charge with #TXsuccess Tuesdays and messaging to ensure our success stories are heard. Every Tuesday, watch the TACCM Facebook & Twitter for facts about Texas community colleges that you can share to help spread the word!
On that note … several institutions participated during Community College Day at the Capitol on Feb. 7, which TACC hosted. Students visited with their local legislative delegations and shared targeted messaging about state funding and other issues that can impact their community college and access to education for many. You can view pictures from the event in this Flickr album and on this social media recap.
Finally, don’t forget that TACCM hosts the free Career and Technical Education (CTE) exploration site called TEXASgenuine. The site serves as a tool for career and college advisors statewide, so take a look and share the link with your contacts who fill this role and can use this valuable resource.
As always … let’s keep the momentum going and tell the best story Texas offers––the community, technical and junior college story! I look forward to seeing you in Austin this June.
Melinda Eddleman 2016-2018 TACCM President
Associate Director of Media Relations, Del Mar College
Industries in Texas show no signs of slowing down as growth continues with an increased need for skilled workers. Community colleges in the state stand ready to train and deliver the right candidates for the jobs.
With more than 210,000 jobs added to Texas in 2016, there’s been a spike in growth specifically within the education, health services, hospitality and manufacturing sectors, according to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). Within the next seven years, Texas is projected to add more than 1.8 million jobs in health care, increase teaching and administrator jobs in both private and public education schools by 25 percent, and increase manufacturing jobs by 7 percent.
Other industries like petrochemical are continuing to expand with new projects, creating a ripple effect of need for workers in an array of industrial technology jobs. Approximately 11,430 direct employees and resident contractors in the combined operations, maintenance and engineering occupations will be needed to replace attrition and fill newly-created positions in the petrochemical industry by the close of 2019, according to the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region. With $40 billion in capital investment, it is estimated that plant expansions along the Texas Gulf Coast region will result in 1,000 permanent jobs and approximately 30,000 construction jobs.
While industries look for new hires, what they really look for are skilled workers – those who are trained and ready for the job, and even better, with an associate degree. Jobs in areas like process technology and maritime, that were once held by employees with high school diplomas, now require more regulated training for skill sets that can include math, computer skills and soft skills.
This is where Texas community colleges come into play.
Community colleges are best positioned to provide customized training in their local community because of their familiarity with specific workforce needs, according to the TWC 2016 Skills Development Fund Annual Report.
Training efforts at community colleges include building new facilities with equipment and environments that closely replicates that of where graduates will one day work, like a sim lab for nursing students, a plant lab for process technology or bridge simulators for maritime students.
Many Texas colleges have received state and federal grants to assist industry in the training of current or incoming employees and make training more available to colleges’ service areas. For example, TWC awarded Laredo Community College a $332,500 Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) grant to install equipment to provide 158 students in the medical profession with training for advanced nursing skills. North Lake College was granted a $407, 230 TWC Skills Development Fund grant to partner with a manufacturing and distribution consortium for job training. San Jacinto College received an $8.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to provide tuition-free training to low-income individuals for select health occupation courses and program.
For many employers, their nearby community college serves a training hub where they’re a partner in ensuring graduates are prepared to land jobs and “hit the ground running” on Day 1.
Community College Day at the Texas State Capitol: February 7, 2017
Students from community and technical colleges across the state will converge on the Texas State Capitol on February 7 for Texas Community College Day. In lieu of our usual #TXsuccess Tuesday, we want to promote Community College Day on social media channels across the state!
Whether you’re attending or not, you can help us boost the #TXsuccess message on Community College Day! Here’s how:
Share this handout (.pdf) with students who are attending. We’re going to be giving away Amazon and Starbucks gift cards from $25-$100 to students in attendance who post using #TXsuccess and #txlege. Give them a heads up so they can be sure to participate!
If you can’t attend but your students can, make sure you share/retweet their posts on your official college channels using #TXsuccess and #txlege.
(WACO) – Technical and community colleges in Texas must continue to be proactive in meeting the needs of state and regional business and industry partners, according to workforce and economic development leaders.
“Moving forward, the colleges are going to be much more critical to our efforts,” said Jason Hilts, president and chief executive officer of the Brownsville Economic Development Council. “We don’t have enough skilled labor force. It’s not just a Brownsville or a Rio Grande Valley problem; it’s a national problem. If we are trying to create those sustainable jobs that help create a better community, we need to have a labor force that has more skills associated with it or we are not going to be able to compete for projects.”
The Texas Economic Development Division of the Office of the Governor focuses on attracting and retaining companies in aerospace, energy, information technology, petroleum refining and chemicals, biotechnology and advanced technology and manufacturing.
Some cities, such as Wichita Falls, look toward data centers to drive the economy, while Arlington aims for medical device manufacturers. The Borderplex Alliance (which includes Ciudad Juarez, Mexico; El Paso; and Las Cruces, New Mexico) touts alternative energy and defense.
“Business and industry do not have borders,” said Jaime Farias, associate vice president for workforce and continuing education at El Paso Community College.
Hilts said the jobs of the future are focusing on automation, robotics, logistics, medical and food manufacturing, aerospace and 3-D printing.
In early 2016, the Computer-Aided Drafting program at Texas State Technical College in North Texas began using a 3-D printer to prepare students for engineering, design, manufacturing and design work. TSTC offers an associate degree and level-two certificate in Computer-Aided Drafting.
Some two-year institutions have specialized centers to target job training.
Victoria College’s Emerging Technology Complex opened in June 2015 and has a 72,000-square-foot Conference and Education Center and a 42,000-square-foot Industrial Training Center. Since its opening, the college has hosted the Texas Water Utilities Association, INVISTA and other entities for meetings and hands-on training.
Del Mar College in Corpus Christi opened in 2016 a $2 million Process and Instrumentation Technology Pilot Plant on its West Campus. The facility is used in the college’s mission of educating workers for the refining, petrochemical, and oil and gas industries.
The Texas Workforce Commission offers Skills Development Fund grants for localized workforce training for technical and community colleges, economic development entities and workforce development boards. Skills Development Fund grants have helped more than 4,100 statewide employers with training for 329,000 employees since 1996, according to TWC’s “Skills Development Fund Annual Report, Fiscal Year 2015.”
TSTC received more than $2.2 million in Skills Development Fund grants through five TWC awards in Fiscal Year 2016. This translated into more than 1,000 Texas workers receiving customized training to improve their skills in instrumentation, advanced motor controls, logistics, hydraulics, troubleshooting and other tasks.
“TSTC has been a long-time partners of the TWC in the deployment of Skills Development Fund and Skills for Small Business grants that support customized workforce training for companies across the state,” said Carliss Hyde, vice president for sponsored programs at TSTC. “We are grateful to be part of the process in this successful program and anticipate nothing but continued growth in our involvement in these projects.”
El Paso Community College has used TWC funding in the past to provide training in welding, plastics mold technology, information technology and other fields. Farias said the college can stay flexible and develop training quickly with the funds. He credited the partnership the college has with the TWC, the city of El Paso and the Borderplex Alliance for coming together to help industries.
“It helps to keep retention for these companies and develops a person who has additional skills to increase productivity in that company,” Farias said.
The resources are in place for Texas’ technical and community colleges to continue adapting to an evolving global economy and to train students for tomorrow’s jobs.
Contact: Melinda Eddleman, Associate Director of Media Relations 361.698.1247 or email@example.com
(CORPUS CHRISTI, TX) –– Service men and women with the U.S. Armed Forces, and their families, make sacrifices every day. And every Veterans Day, which was Nov. 11 this year, the nation specifically recognizes veterans for their service to our country.
For Del Mar College (DMC), recognizing student veterans’ service comes with a year-round motto, “Proudly serving those who served with pride.”
“At Del Mar College, we’re committed to valuing every learner equally,” said Tammy Micallef, director of the DMC Veterans Center and retired U.S. Navy Chief with 21 service years of her own. “We believe all military service members, dependents and veterans are vital to our college’s mission of providing access to quality education, workforce preparation and lifelong learning for student and community success.”
In fact, the College has adopted a Military Community Covenant that pledges Del Mar’s support for students who have served and for their families. The initiative links local education and business partners in supporting service members and military installations. After all, the South Texas Coastal Bend Region that DMC serves is home to Naval Air Stations Corpus Christi and Kingsville and the Corpus Christi Army Depot, the nation’s largest helicopter repair facility.
“Military service members and veterans are a significant portion of our enrollment,” added Micallef.
Student veterans, their dependents and active duty members who receive Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits represent annually nearly 15% of the College’s credit enrollment, or about 1,400 students. Currently, statewide figures are unavailable for student veterans enrolled at higher education institutions, but such tracking is in development according to Texas Association of Community College officials.
For student veterans accessing their benefits, Veterans Services at Del Mar College is not just an office. It’s a place where veterans help veterans take the next step in their education.
Susan Quinn, who graduated this summer from DMC with an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science with an emphasis on Computer Information Systems, Network Administration and Information Security, first enrolled at Del Mar in 1976 to study computer technology. Quinn then joined the U.S. Navy in 1977 “because it wasn’t just a job, it was an adventure,” she said.
Quinn spent the next five years working with flight simulators training pilots how to fly jets before separating from the Navy as a Petty Officer Second Class and going to work for Halliburton in Houston. She moved back to Corpus Christi to take care of her parents and re-enrolled at Del Mar in spring 2013.
“Thanks to Del Mar’s Veterans Services and its helpful staff, I accessed resources I needed to be successful in school while still helping my parents,” Quinn said. “I learned about benefits, such as the Hazelwood Act, and secured funds to help me pay for school as well as other funds to assist with paying my bills. Veterans Services staff looked out for me, so without those benefits, I wouldn’t have been able to complete my college degree.”
Since 2010, Del Mar has dedicated two Veteran Services Offices and two Veterans Resource Centers—one on each main campus––and created a full-time “director” position as well as added four full-time, three part-time and multiple work-study employees to support the needs of student veterans.
Micallef noted, “The Veteran Services Offices and Veterans Resource Centers represent the College’s commitment to making student veterans as proud of their educational achievements as DMC is of their service to our country,” adding that Quinn even served as a work-study student while attending Del Mar.
Since 2012, Del Mar’s Veterans Resource Centers have logged 15,000 visits from veterans seeking assistance with registration, benefits processing, tutoring, counseling and student success support. Full-time staff offer computer assistance with VA processing in a relaxed lounge environment much like the setting the USO provides active military stateside and around the world.
Earlier this year, Southern Business and Development magazine recognized DMC as a “Top Texas Community College Delivering Workforce Training.” Former U.S. Marine and student Julio Wilmot’s preparation through Del Mar’s noncredit offerings was highlighted during a recognition celebration.
Wilmot said that he became interested in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Department of Transportation regulations after working in the oilfield as a pump operator and crew leader before the oil industry collapsed. He then worked as a contractual worker for refineries, where safety is very important and strictly observed.
After a long period employed as a “working man,” Wilmot realized that no matter how hard he worked, he would only make the “norm.”
“I don’t like normal, so I decided to start making decisions that lead to progress, and that meant school,” he noted. “I started taking every course I could at Del Mar College that would take me in the direction of becoming a professional.”
Wilmot earned five workforce credentials, including his Class A Commercial Drivers License through DMC’s Transportation Training Services truck driving program and certifications through the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) and OSHA programs offered through the DMC Workforce Development and Corporate Services Division.
Currently, he’s enrolled in the College’s 18-week fast-track Process Technology and Instrumentation Program offered by the division, a counter-part to the two-year degree offered on the credit side of the house.
“Life is full of decisions, and I’m proud that I decided to go to Del Mar College for my training and education,” Wilmot noted. “The courses I’ve taken have molded me to the path I want to be on.”
Recently, Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families named Del Mar College as one of the top three colleges in the nation providing veteran pathways to the regional workforce.
Among other College initiatives that have served DMC student veterans are:
$100,000 Wal-Mart Foundation grant with 170 veterans enrolled in workforce training resulting with 126 participants earning marketable skills.
$175,000 Texas Workforce Commission Veterans and Industry Partnership (VIP) grant to train veterans for jobs in the petrochemical industry with 20 participants completing this preparation in the first six months.
nationally accredited fast track NCCER program providing veterans free training for up to two “stackable” credentials in areas of construction or maintenance trades.
College Credit for Heroes: a collaboration with Central Texas College to translate military experience to equivalent college course credit.
Kognito: training for DMC faculty and staff to understand challenges veterans face when transitioning from military to academic life.
advocacy: the College’s Veteran Center director has served on the Rulemaking Committee that amended the Hazelwood Act and proposed the later adopted formula for conversion of Continuing Education Units to semester hour credit.
mentoring programs using faculty, staff and peer-to-peer pairing, which includes a College-designed lapel pin for faculty and staff veterans that allows student veterans to identify at a glance those employees who have also walked in their boots.
DMC celebrating student veterans with graduate receptions, honor cords and “Top Student Veteran” awards.
These and other initiatives have earned Del Mar College the designation as a “Military Friendly School” for five years by Victory Media and a “Top School” for four years by Military Advanced Education and Transition Guide.
“I believe that ALL Texas community colleges share a common commitment to our veterans,” noted Micallef, who also has served as president of the Texas Association of Collegiate Veterans Officials for the past three years. “I’m convinced that Texas community colleges are the catalyst to achieving 60 by30 Texas [60X30TX] goals set by the state with student veterans contributing significantly to the workforce we’re building.”
Del Mar College salutes and thanks our student veterans and all veterans for their dedication and service to this country this Veterans Day. The College also will continue to “proudly serve those who served with pride” year-round.
Meet Ashlee Estlack, TACCM’s board secretary and Clarendon College’s Chief of Staff.
What’s your favorite thing about your job?
I honestly look forward to coming to work each day. I love what I’m doing right now. I get to sit in with the senior staff and advise the president, I am able tell the story of our school and our students and brag about our successes, and I get to be part of something that is bettering the lives of our students and making our communities stronger and more successful. I believe community colleges are the best first step for students seeking training or a degree – and finding ways to spread that message to others is the best part of each day.
What’s the most rewarding project you’ve tackled in the past year?
Clarendon College completed our SACS Accreditation visit last October and received word in June that we were approved for re-accreditation. I had never been involved with a SACS visit or QEP before, but it was an extremely rewarding experience. I enjoyed putting together the marketing materials and activities for the QEP and making sure that the visiting team was taken care of while they were here. Our team worked together and in a very short period of time made sure that we were not only prepared for the visit, but also were approved for re-accreditation. I’ve never been so proud of my coworkers – it took everyone to make the review a success and together we made it happen.
What’s your superpower?
Can multi-tasking be a superpower? Or maybe making something out of nothing? As the Chief of Staff at a small, rural college I wear many, many hats. I serve as the President’s right hand person, handle all of the college’s PR and marketing needs, work with HR and employee benefits, keep up with travel and facility scheduling, and head up most event planning on campus – not to mention “other duties as assigned.” And all of this is on a budget that doesn’t increase from year to year so I have to be creative and make dollars stretch further than they ever have. No two days at work are ever the same, and if I wasn’t busy I’d probably go a little bit crazy. While it is completely chaotic most days, I really wouldn’t change what I do for anything.
What’s something other TACCM members probably don’t know about you?
My family raises show chickens. I have silkie cochins that are named after the cast of Grey’s Anatomy – McDreamy, Meredith, The Chief, etc. We (my kids, the in-laws, and my hubby and I) show the chickens at the Tri-State Fair in Amarillo every year and this year my daughter’s white cochin won best of show – earning her a pretty swanky belt buckle and bragging rights over her brother and two boy cousins.
You hit shuffle on your music collection. What song pops up?
Probably something by Michael Buble – right now I’m enjoy his new song “Nobody but Me” and his version of “The Very Thought of You”. I have pretty eclectic taste in music so you just never know what will pop up – there’s a chance it could be something random from Merle Haggard, Justin Timberlake, or maybe John Mellencamp.
If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor, and why?
Again, after reading her book, I’d have to pick Dana Perino. I actually met Tony Snow while I was a student reporter in college, and I was completely mesmerized with his experience as a White House Press Secretary – this is probably where my interest in that position started. After he resigned for health reasons, Dana was named as his replacement. I had the opportunity to hear her speak last year and she spoke on never being afraid to move for the right position, building trust with your team, and that love and family aren’t career killers. She has proven that if you work hard enough you can do anything – she was a girl from a ranch in Wyoming who went on to advise the President of the United States. I admire what she has accomplished, and that she seems to be humble and down to earth after it all.
Last book you read that you couldn’t put down?
Dana Perino’s bio “And the good news is…” I’ve always dreamed of being a press secretary – I enjoy watching “The West Wing” and would love to be CJ Cregg. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Dana’s life pre and post White House, and she has excellent advice for young women starting a career and trying to find their way.
Eleven community colleges from across the state have been chosen to participate in the Texas Pathways Project sponsored by the Texas Success Center and funded by the Greater Texas Foundation. The project is geared toward transforming the way students transition from public education into community colleges on their way to certification or transferring to 4-year institutions leading to meaningful careers.
Research conducted by the Community College Research Center and various innovators from community colleges across the United States recognized low graduation rates among community college students, the high cost of education, and the high number of courses students completed that did not transfer to four-year institutions. Often, students were taking 4-6 years to complete a two-year degree or were dropping out of college. The Pathways serve as a way to provide clear and structured direction at the start of their academic journey at college as they learn about different disciplines and career options, then broaden opportunities as students become better informed.
Academic pathways will provide students a guided path of coursework and contextualized support structures for students within six major career/professional concentrations: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM); Business; Creative Arts; Liberal Arts; Public Service; and Health Professions. The process allows students to explore career options while staying on pace to graduate. For instance, students interested in a STEM-related career but without a specific degree in mind would progress on a multidisciplinary path to an Associate’s Degree in Science. The first two semesters are set for the student to learn about careers and professions available through the pathway, providing opportunities to try different areas while undergoing intrusive advising by academic advisors and mentoring faculty. At the same time, the student would be required to work toward completing all required mathematics classes and be enrolled in STEM-major coursework. Once the student better focuses their interest, they will be advised into STEM metamajors with specific selection and sequencing of courses leading to their preparation in a specific discipline or area of study. All pathway curricula is also aligned with transfer degree options with partner four-year institutions and/or the local industry.
Another goal of Pathways is to build closer ties among high schools and colleges, which can be beneficial to high school students already working on college-level courses through the Dual Credit program. High school freshmen who meet the admission criteria can now begin taking college courses from a transfer block designed for students planning to attend a community college or transfer to a Texas public college or university. Once the student completes 18 college credit hours, the student is then directed into their chosen pathway. If the student continues down the pathway through their senior year, they can receive their high school diploma and an associate degree in the same year.
The Pathways program will give students the path they need to be successful and help them achieve their goals in a timely manner.
Colleges chosen to participate in the Texas Pathways Project are Amarillo College, Austin Community College, Brazosport College, Dallas County Community College District, Grayson College, Houston Community College System, Lone Star College District, McLennan Community College, Midland College, South Texas College, Southwest Texas Junior College, and Temple College. The colleges will participate in biannual institutes designed to assist participants in implementing the structured student pathways. The colleges will be joined by teams from Alamo Community College, El Paso Community College, Paris Junior College, San Jacinto College that were selected to participate in the American Association of Community Colleges’ Pathways Project, a national project designed to institute pathways at scale.