David Carr, Dean of Career and Technology at Frank Phillips College, learned last month that Susan Combs, Texas Comptroller of Accounts, has awarded the college a Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) grant in the amount of $242,646.
Area employers who actively supported FPC’s grant request to the Texas Comptroller of Accounts include North Plains Electric Cooperative; Chevron Phillips Chemical, LP; and Hilmar Cheese.
The grant will be used to purchase equipment for FPC’s Career and Technical Education Program, including dual credit courses, in basic electronics. Equipment to be purchased includes a large set of equipment to train for Process Technology, a DAC valve cutaway set, a transformer trainer, a variable frequency AC drive trainer, training equipment for industrial sensors, and a Shop Bot CNC machine upgrade.
Carr said, “The new generation of technical workers is required to know more than ever and be proficient in a variety of skills. Locally, there is a growing petrochemical industry with refineries, oil and gas process facilities, and dairies and cheese processing facilities. In addition, the wind industry is emerging. While at first glance these may seem to be as different as night and day, there are many base skills that can be taught to apply to all.”
He said FPC is developing new courses, certificates, and degrees to expand capabilities for local industry’s current and predicted growth. “An Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technician program can encompass a variety of skills that are needed locally,” he said. “This program will complement and integrate with our current Instrumentation and Electrical program and our just-started Process Technology certificate program.”
FPC’s Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technician program will host the certificate programs to train industrial electrical power workers and process technology workers. Once the certificate program is established, the FPC Career and Technical Education (CTE) Industry Advisory Board and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) will work together to establish a well-rounded academically integrated Associate Degree program.
“Our goal for students in this program is for them to have a skill set that will not only make them ideally suited for filling positions needed in this area now, but also have a superior depth of knowledge to ensure that they adapt and succeed in future key growth areas,” Carr said.