Blinn College and the Region VI Education Service Center were recently awarded a $325,000 grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to help adult students acquire skills and certificates in high-demand occupations.
The Accelerate Texas grant is designed to increase the participation and success of adult basic education students in workforce training programs at community colleges and public technical institutions. According to Jobs for the Future, at least 60 percent of jobs in Texas will require a career certificate or college degree by 2020 but 44 percent of Texans over age 25 have never attended college.
While state and federal funding for adult basic education programs have increased in Texas, enrollment is down almost 20 percent over the last five years. To combat this trend, Accelerate Texas programs are integrating basic skills programs with career and technical pathways to help adult students acquire the skills they need for productive careers.
Blinn College’s A.W. Hodde, Jr. Technical Education Center is partnering with the Region VI Education Service Center’s adult basic education program to transition Region VI students to the Hodde Center’s manufacturing, professional office specialist and health profession courses. The Region VI Education Service Center, located in Huntsville, provides adult basic education programs in 15 Texas counties. By partnering with the Education Service Center, Blinn will increase participation of Region VI’s basic skills, English as a second language and adult education students in the technical training programs the College already offers.
“The grant doesn’t change our course outcomes and it doesn’t change Region VI’s adult basic education program, it just ties the two together so we constantly have that flow of participants and see higher levels of career and job output at the end,” said Hodde Center Director David Yeager.
Yeager said Blinn hopes to see 158 certificates awarded to participants in its manufacturing, professional office specialist and health profession courses over the next two years as a result of the partnership.
The grant will also help pay for personnel, new scholarships and supplies.
Blinn’s 12,000-square foot A.W. Hodde, Jr. Technical Education Center was built in 2009 to provide local training for a quality, viable workforce in Washington and the surrounding communities. Its staff works in cooperation with local businesses to provide a well-trained workforce that strengthens the local economy. For more information on the Hodde Center and its course offerings, call 979-830-4443 or visit www.blinn.edu/blinntec.