EDUCATION / SKILLS TRAINING
Since its inception the Type A sales tax has funded higher education projects:
College of Science and Engineering
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi began its Mechanical Engineering Program in 2009 to provide homegrown engineers to area employers who requested a workforce with these specific skills. The initial support helped hire faculty, buy equipment and create a state-of-the art experience that is clearly showing results. More than 400 students are enrolled, and many of the past graduates have been hired as part of the next generation of engineering leaders working throughout Texas and the Coastal Bend.
Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center
The Innovation Center at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s building in Flour Bluff opened its doors in 2009 to assist small businesses with innovative processes, products or services using proven methodologies to accelerate the process of commercialization at any stage of development.
Each client represents future jobs and economic growth for the Coastal Bend region. The Innovation Center sets the stage for a more diverse economy, encourages entrepreneurship, and provides a significant boost to an economy that has traditionally relied on tourism and the oil and gas industry for revenue.
Del Mar College Northwest Center
Del Mar College’s Northwest Center offers residents of northwest Nueces County more opportunities to attend classes without the commute into Corpus Christi. Formerly the Corpus Christi Medical Center Calallen Orthopedic and Sports Medical Center, the renovated facility provides an additional 12,300 square feet of instructional space––including four classrooms and three laboratories. The Northwest Center has expanded the College’s capacity to graduate nurses, other health sciences professionals and emergency first responders. The center also serves as an alternative educational site for core courses in arts, sciences, business and computer technology. Residents also can enroll in noncredit courses offered by DMC Career and Community Education, including the General Education Development (GED) high school equivalency program. Type A Board support provided $979,000 for the College to retrofit, equip and furnish the Northwest Center to provide instruction to residents living in Calallen, Tuloso-Midway and the surrounding area. The Northwest Center began operations in early August 2010 with the Corpus Christi Medical Center providing the facility as a “lease at no cost” for 10 years.
Del Mar College Aviation Maintenance Training Hangar
Named Del Mar College Hangar, an old unused hangar at the Corpus Christi International Airport took on new life with renovations now providing 14,400 square feet of hangar space for aircraft storage and 2,440 feet of classroom and office space for the College’s Aviation Maintenance Technology program in the Technology Education Department. The hangar can accommodate up to 12 aircraft, giving students more hand-on training experiences beyond those provided by the DMC West Campus facility. The expanded venue supports an additional 40 students training through the program with the Air Agency Certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration allowing for maximum student enrollment of 200 with 100 students taking courses during the day or night. Del Mar College’s Aviation Maintenance Technology program trains technicians for general and commercial aviation industry employers across the Coastal Bend. Type A Board funds dedicated to this renovation project reached nearly $1.2 million. Del Mar College invested about $2 million for renovations with the City of Corpus Christi forgoing leasing fees for the space. Training in the renovated facility began in February 2013.
The Craft Training Center
The Craft Training Center is funded by local industry partners and provides a curriculum in skills that are needed for our local workforce. They train high school students and adults and have a recertification program for craftsmen currently working in industry. Their current enrollment is 400, but this addition will allow them to increase their enrollment to 720. With M&G Resins, TPCO America Corporation, and other industries moving into our area the need for boilermakers, pipeline, crane, industrial coating, welders, pipe fitters and other customized industry programs will increase four fold over the next five years according to the Texas Workforce Commission. The Craft Training Center will help fill that need.
TAMU-CC Research Laboratories
Student and faculty in the University’s research labs are exploring the depths of the Gulf of Mexico and the world’s oceans for keys to climate change and marine ecosystems. In these labs, researchers are developing innovative computer applications, unraveling marine organisms’ DNA for keys to fishing sustainability, and analyzing carbon’s presence as isotopes in the deepest waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Funding helps cover the salaries of 11 technicians and student researchers, as well as state-of-the-art high-tech equipment.
Lone Star Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s Lone Star Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center of Excellence & Innovation is one of only six federally-designated test sites for UAS, often called drones.
A team of researchers, entrepreneurs and aviation industry professionals assist the Federal Aviation Administration in planning for the safe integration of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace.
The center has worked with well over 200 industry contacts supporting efforts to use UAS safely in a variety of fields. Some firms have already relocated or are planning to open offices in the Corpus Christi area.
The UAS research continues to bring national and international news coverage to A&M-Corpus Christi. The Island University already is seeing an increase in student interest in this emerging field. Faculty researchers, too, are coming to Corpus Christi to partake in UAS-related enterprises.
Continued economic development is expected.
Del Mar College Transportation Training Simulators
The American Trucking Association estimates that 96,000 drivers are needed per year through 2024 as Baby Boomers retire, making the field wide open for individuals interested in training for a job driving the big rigs. Del Mar College Transportation Training Services’ simulators provide students the knowledge and skills sets needed before they receive hands-on, over-the-road training to earn their Commercial Drivers License. Six simulators feature full motion-based cabs resembling actual trucks with three screens at each simulator providing different types of driving conditions. Students can learn to drive an 18-wheeler or other trucks with various types of transmissions, or they can train to become bus drivers to address a critical driver shortage. Individuals can complete the program in as little as three weeks with day and evening courses offered. Starting salaries for trucking graduates can start at $45,000. With $750,000 of Type A Board funding support, the College unveiled the training simulators in January 2013. Two simulators are permanently located on the West Campus and four on two trailers for mobile instruction and recruitment throughout the Coastal Bend.
Del Mar College Process and Instrumentation Technology Pilot Plant
A first in the area, a scaled-down Process and Instrumentation Technology Pilot Plant on Del Mar College’s West Campus will prepare students for well-paying positions as technicians in refineries and petrochemical plants. The pilot plant will address the community’s growing need for skilled technicians in process, instrumentation, industrial automation, process control, safety and related fields. The facility will serve as a state-of-the-art, hands-on working model of a distillation unit that is commonly used at local refineries and petrochemical plants, allowing students to move directly from the classroom to the workforce environment. The training facility will include a 32-foot-tall tower as well as all the associated instrumentation when completed in fall 2015. Area school boards and independent school districts have issued resolutions supporting Dual Credit students obtaining hands-on experience in such a learning lab when the pilot plant is built. Type A Board funding of $1.3 million was granted to build the pilot plant, and corporate partners have pitched in additional funds and professional support.
TAMU-CC Electrical Engineering Degree Program
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s engineering program is expanding, with electrical engineering classes starting in 2016. Similar to the Mechanical Engineering Program, this degree program was developed to fulfill a community need. The initial class of students is expected to grow. As has been seen in A&M-CC’s Mechanical Engineering Program, many of these students will likely stay and work in the Corpus Christi area after graduation.