Category Archives: Garland Campus

Six people pose together in the HMS lobby, with Commissioner Daniel in the center, holding a giant check. Richland College and HMS Receive $541,112 Grant from Texas Workforce Commission in Check-Signing Ceremony

Richland College, the Texas Workforce Commission and HMS representatives participated in a check-signing ceremony at the HMS headquarters in Irving Oct. 16, during which Richland College was awarded a $541,112 Skills Development Fund grant by the Texas Workforce Commission to train 227 incumbent employees and 39 new employees for HMS.

“We deeply appreciate the ongoing confidence that the Texas Workforce Commission and area employers place in Richland College as an experienced, high-quality, results-focused training provider, and we remain committed to meeting the workforce training needs and exceeding the expectations of businesses and corporations in all the communities we serve,” said Richland College President Kathryn K. Eggleston. “We also extend our sincere appreciation to the Texas Workforce Commission for the Skills Development Fund grant and the immediate impact this particular grant will make in training and advancing HMS employees’ success.”

Putting people first and developing a strong workforce were clear themes of the event, punctuated by the many HMS employees in attendance who are benefiting from the training provided by Richland College.

“Customized training like what Richland College can provide, I think, makes all the difference in the world,” said TWC Commissioner Representing the Public Bryan Daniel.

This partnership among Richland College, HMS and TWC also aligns with the HMS company value of encouraging employee success, growth and collaboration, which in turn benefits not just HMS, but its customers and the entire healthcare industry.

“As a healthcare technology company, it is vital that we invest in delivering highly relevant training in new and emerging technologies. That’s how we will continue to bring innovative solutions to our clients and move healthcare forward,” said Bill Lucia, chairman and CEO for HMS. “By innovating and leading with the head and the heart, HMS will continue to ensure that more people have access to quality healthcare coverage.”

The customized training provided by Richland College for HMS is highly IT-driven, with HMS focused on developing skilled, technical talent. Training sessions under the grant include: Big Data Analytics, Hadoop – Programming Language, Cloud Administration, Cloud Development, Cloud Architecture, DevOps for Leaders, Automation for Cloud, Artificial Intelligence – Deep Machine Learning, Powershell Scripting – Programming Language, Python – Programming, Structured Query Language – Programming, VBA Programming, Intermediate Excel and Project Management Professional.

HMS advances the healthcare system by helping healthcare organizations reduce costs and improve health outcomes. With industry-leading technology, analytics and engagement solutions, HMS saves billions of healthcare dollars annually while helping consumers lead healthier lives.

“I want to say, ‘thank you’ to the Texas Workforce Commission and Richland College for all of their hard work and support for us as we’ve really started to engage in and start to leverage different training and technologies to help propel and drive the company,” said HMS Vice President of IT Operations Mark Olson.

Upon completion of this training, Richland College plans to continue working with the Texas Workforce Commission to receive additional Skills Development Fund grants to offer training opportunities to additional north Texas businesses.

The SDF program at Richland College Garland Campus provides customized job-training programs for businesses who want to train new workers or upgrade the skills of their existing workforce. The program is a partnership among Richland College Garland Campus, TWC and community business partners. For additional information about the Skills Development Fund program, visit https://www.richlandcollege.edu/aboutrlc/garland-campus/pages/skills-development-fund.aspx.


exterior of Richland College Garland Campus Richland College Garland Campus Honors Local Businesses With Annual Partnership Awards

Richland College Garland Campus is committed to serving the local community through corporate and workforce training, recognizing the importance of building sustainable community partnerships to provide customized training that is beneficial to both employers and their employees. One of the many ways Richland College Garland Campus shows its appreciation to its partners is by recognizing local companies with Corporate Services’ Partnership Awards, which are presented each year at the Garland Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet.

“The top three words we hear from employers is ‘workforce, workforce, workforce’,” said Konley Kelley, Richland College Garland Campus director of corporate and community relations. “The greatest assets our clients have are their employees. We are privileged to provide these employees training options and solutions that meet their needs. The Partnership Awards are both a recognition and a ‘Thank you’ from the college for this relationship that we value.”

The Partnership Awards were established to meet a “client recognition” goal. Companies are nominated by Richland College grant coordinators and staff. The review committee for these awards is comprised of college leadership and members of the Garland Chamber of Commerce.

The DCMA Partnership Award recognizes clients who are part of the DCMA and have met and exceeded performance goals as a partner in a Skills Development Grant from the Texas Workforce Commission. The performance goals are set in the grant application and fulfilled through a working relationship with the college to deliver an agreed number of classes for grant-eligible participants. The grant duration can be a year to 18-months long.

The Community Partnership Award recognizes clients who have actively worked with the college in areas such as contract/company-sponsored training, apprenticeship programs and the hiring of students from the Workforce Training programs at the Garland Campus. These companies typically send staff to present to students in the Workforce Training programs and participate in job fairs and career guidance.

More than 200 chamber members were hosted at this year’s banquet, sponsored by its 2018 board of directors. Rose Galloway, associate vice president of workforce and continuing education at Richland College, was honored as the incoming chairwoman of the board for the chamber. Also at the event, Ron Clark, vice president for business services at Richland College, presented Epiroc Drilling Solutions with the DCMA Partnership Award, and he presented General Dynamics Ordinance and Tactical Systems with the Community Partnership Award. These awards recognized the significant training investment each company provided to their employees and their support of programs at Richland College Garland Campus.

“We are very proud to have received this award,” said Tanya Tyler, human resources manager for Epiroc Drilling Solutions, who accepted the award alongside Karine Dubois, vice president Human Resources for Epiroc. “Epiroc Drilling Solutions strives to be a company that values the knowledge and development of our employees. Partnering with the Garland Campus for training has been invaluable to us as an organization and in our efforts to have the best trained workforce around!”

Epiroc Drilling Solutions received this award for its participation in a Richland College Garland Campus Skills Development Fund grant. The company providing training to 108 Epiroc employees, including 79 new employees, which far exceeded grant projections. Epiroc received classes in electrical basics and troubleshooting, forklift certification, MSSC certification, 5S, root cause analysis, lean six sigma, project management, CPR and leadership training.

“Garland Campus has been a great partner for us when it comes to training our employees,” added Tyler. “Not only through the state grant, but also in scheduling classes onsite at our facility or at Richland’s main campus whenever we need them, which has been incredibly helpful in training our employees. The Richland employees we work with, like Ric Guerrero, are very flexible and responsive to our needs as an organization.”

General Dynamics Ordinance and Tactical Systems participated in grant training in 2017-18 and used Richland College Garland Campus for contract training in arc flash, train the trainer, coaching millennials and geometric dimensioning and tolerancing. In addition, General Dynamics is the first DCMA company to participate in a registered DOL apprenticeship program in manufacturing, a project for which Garland Campus is providing technical training. Craig Conner accepted the award on behalf of General Dynamics during the ceremony.

The Partnership Awards have been held since 2012. Previous winners include:

  • 2012: Hatco, DCMA; and Dallas County, Community
  • 2013: Micropac, DCMA; and Plastipak Packaging, Community
  • 2014: Interceramic, DCMA; and Perot Museum, Community
  • 2015: Unity Manufacturing, DCMA (more than 100 employees); Atlas Copco, DCMA (fewer than 100 employees); and City of Garland, Community
  • 2016: Micropac, DCMA; General Dynamics, DCMA; and City of Garland, Community
  • 2017: Sanden-Vendo, DCMA; DAP, Community; and Data-Matique, Community
  • 2018: Mapei, DCMA; and Aloe Vera, Community

In addition to these awards, Kelley, who was last year’s Leadership Garland Distinguished Leader Award recipient, presented this year’s Distinguished Leader Award to Garland Fire Marshall Mike Van Buskirk.

“The Garland Campus is here to serve the community and its companies, many of which are valued manufacturing companies in the Dallas County Manufacturers’ Association and the Garland area,” said Kelley. “Whether the company or organization dedicates time for employees to train on a grant or sponsor training, the college is proud to serve and help keep this economy growing.”

Tyler added, “As an organization, we believe that training is an integral part in having a high-performing workforce. We have company goals and standards as far as the minimum number of training hours every year for each employee, and Richland has been incredibly helpful over the years in accomplishing that goal. We look forward to partnering with Richland in the future to continue to provide high quality training for our employees for many years to come!”


exterior of Richland College Garland Campus Richland College Garland Campus to Host Community College and Career Fair March 28

To further Richland College’s mission of teaching, learning and community building, Richland College Garland Campus is partnering with Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas to host a community college and career fair from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, Mar. 28. This event is free and open to the public.

This event is designed to serve the Garland community, particularly those individuals looking to further their education or career. Individuals looking for new careers or additional education can learn about some of the offerings at Richland College Garland Campus, including its workforce training programs designed for quick employment. For job hunters, local employers will be present to accept applications and résumés from job seekers. Participating employers include BBVA, Don Miguel, Kraft Heinz, Kroger, Point to Point Security, Precision Employment, State Farm, Televista Call Center, UPS and Waffle House.

In addition, community services will be on-hand at the event to assist the community. The North Texas Food Bank’s mobile pantry will be distributing food beginning at 9 a.m., Prism Health North Texas will be providing free HIV and HCV screening, and Dallas County Health and Human Services will be providing free meningitis shots. To receive a meningitis shot, a form of government-issued identification will be required, along with shot records from a doctor.

Richland College Garland Campus is located at 675 W. Walnut St. in Garland. Richland College Garland Campus is a community campus focused on workforce training and development and corporate service and is a place for area companies, organizations and individuals to obtain highly specialized, in-demand corporate and workforce training. For information, visit www.richlandcollege.edu/garlandcampus.


Konley Kelley poses inside an aircraft. Richland’s Konley Kelley Shares Passion for Flight and World War II History With Emeritus Students

By day, Konley Kelley is the director of corporate and community relations at Richland College Garland Campus, overseeing contract training in the north Dallas area and assisting with the development of grant projects for the local business community. But when it’s time for the suit and tie to come off, Kelley hits the skies. A long-time volunteer with the Commemorative Air Force B-29/B-24 Squadron, Kelley has served as the editor of “The Flyer” newsletter since 2012 and has been the squadron’s education officer since the title’s creation in late 2017.

Recently, work and play collided when Konley gave a presentation on the CAF as part of the Emeritus program’s Enrichment lecture series. Richland College’s Emeritus program offers a variety of affordable classes and programs to individuals over 50 who enjoy continued learning.

“Many of the Emeritus program members lived through World War II or have clear memories of their parents in the 1940s and ‘50s, who grew up as part of the Greatest Generation,” explained Kelley. “Many Emeritus participants are veterans and history buffs. I think my presentation helps them remember a time that seems distant for people my age—52—and younger, and it encompasses many of their cherished memories. With 18,000 B-24 Liberators built during World War II, some attendees had relatives who flew aboard these aircraft, while many others have fond memories of seeing the aircraft at airshows throughout the years.”

The CAF B-29/B-24 squadron is under the charter of the Commemorative Air Force, an organization dedicated to acquiring, restoring and preserving a complete collection of combat aircraft flown by all military services of the U.S., along with selected aircraft of other nations, for the education and enjoyment of present and future American generations, while also paying tribute to the thousands of men and women who built, serviced and flew them in defense of the U.S.

Kelley’s Emeritus presentation on Sept. 24 included an explanation of the CAF and upcoming plans for a CAF national airbase in Dallas, which will include an aviation museum and regularly hosted air shows. He also described his personal experiences with the organization, shared videos and told stories about veterans who have been able to ride in the B-29/B-24 squadron’s legendary planes for the first time since serving in World War II.

“I personally really enjoy being around these beautiful warbirds and learning the history of World War II,” said Kelley. “Through projects in the CAF and the newsletter, I am able to share the stories of the Greatest Generation and these remarkable aircraft with others and promote the mission of the Commemorative Air Force.”

This presentation was Kelley’s fifth Emeritus presentation. In addition to several general CAF presentations similar to this one, Kelley has also previously presented on the B-29 Superfortress “FIFI,” the B-24 Liberator “Diamond Lil” and American women in World War II. He has also participated in events for Richland College Veterans Services.

The CAF gives Kelley an outlet to explore another passion of his, scale and 3-D modeling. “I love the detail and craftsmanship involved in the modeling,” he explained. “Each model also represents the story of a person, moment or machine and most of my projects are associated with military history. Now with the CAF, I get to play with the 1:1 scale models!”

Kelley isn’t the only Richland College employee with eyes to the skies. Two other Richland College employees also volunteer for the CAF. Angie Whitney, leadership trainer, is one of the few qualified female loadmasters on a B-24. Lisa Foster, adjunct faculty member, is a living history representation of “Rosie the Riveter,” a World War II icon who symbolized women’s “We Can Do It” attitude by stepping up to work in factories and shipyards. Foster is also the executive officer of the Women Airforce Service Pilots Squadron.

Kelley has been working for Richland College since May 1997. Since then, he has been an Administrator of the Year nominee in 2005 and 2007. His current position is focused on community outreach for corporate services, which provides training to companies at their worksites to provide a more skilled workforce. In turn, this training gives employees the opportunity to earn higher wages and become more promotable through their learned skills.

The Richland College Emeritus plus 50 program provides affordable classes to people ages 50 and older to help them stay intellectually challenged, physically fit and socially connected. Dallas County residents 65 years old and older who have lived in Texas for at least one year may receive free tuition for up to six college credit hours per semester. For more information, visit www.richlandcollege.edu/emeritus.

The CAF B-29/B-24 Squadron maintains, preserves and operates the world’s only operational B-29A, “FIFI,” and B-24A, “Diamond Lil.” The squadron regularly brings together the aircraft, pilots and crews from over 70 CAF units across the country to create the AirPower Squadron, an assortment of military aircraft touring across the U.S. The tour will always include at least one of the squadron’s rare, premiere bombers: “FIFI” or “Diamond Lil.” For more information, visit www.cafb29b24.org.

The CAF is the largest flying museum in the world. It is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to honoring American military aviation history through flight, exhibition and remembrance. The CAF has approximately 12,000 members and a fleet of more than 160 aircraft assigned to 63 units across the country. These units are comprised of CAF volunteer members who restore and operate the planes that are viewed by more than 10 million spectators annually. For more information, visit www.commemorativeairforce.org.


A group of people surrounds Ruth R. Hughs as she holds a giant check for $705,439. Richland College Receives $705,439 Grant from Texas Workforce Commission in Check-Signing Ceremony

Richland College, Texas Workforce Commission and Dallas County Manufacturers’ Association representatives participated in a check-signing ceremony Aug. 2 at Richland College Garland Campus.

Richland College was awarded a $705,439 Skills Development Fund grant by the Texas Workforce Commission to train 321 incumbent employees upgraded to new jobs and 32 new hires in essential industry-specific knowledge and skills. The grant will provide 13,649 training hours for seven Dallas County manufacturing companies to include Epiroc Drilling Solutions, LLC; Barnsco; Erect-A-Line; Brill, a CSM Bakery Solutions Company; Garrett Metal Detectors; Micropac Industries, Inc.; and Milano Hat Company.

Four of the partnering businesses are new SDF grant partners, and the other three businesses recently became re-eligible for funding after completing successful training programs through prior SDF grants.

The training provided under this grant will be completed during a 15-month period beginning Aug. 31, with the goal of improving processes and bridging technology and leadership skills gaps for the participating employers.

“We have gathered this afternoon to acknowledge our appreciation of the important industry training impact this $705,439 Texas Workforce Commission Skills Development Fund grant is making possible through Richland College Garland Campus, where a dynamic tri-partnership continues to flourish among the Garland Chamber of Commerce, the Dallas County Manufacturers’ Association and Richland College Garland Campus,” said Richland College president Kathryn K. Eggleston, addressing the audience at the event. “This grant enables our triad to advance and expand both technical and non-technical training to employees at seven Garland and regional area manufacturing companies, continuing to leverage our capabilities to grow the economic base of Garland’s manufacturing sector businesses and contributing to a skilled Texas workforce and beyond.”

Ruth R. Hughs, TWC chair and commissioner representing employers of Texas, spoke about the partnership with DCMA and Richland College’s role in providing training to Garland and other north Texas-area businesses through previous SDF grants.

“[The Skills Development Fund program] really is our premiere job training program because it allows employers to get that customized curriculum to meet their needs, and it allows workers an opportunity to really expand their skillset and be able to be more competitive in the marketplace and be better employees,” said Hughs. “We find time and again that when the employers invest in their employees in these ways, the employees invest back, and you really do get a better-quality employee and you create a culture that everybody wants to be a part of.”

Micropac Industries, Inc., has previously received training from Richland College through an SDF grant. Chairman and CEO Mark King spoke about real-life results from this training, including last year when Lockheed required Micropac operators to have an IPC-A-610 certification to build optical sensors for missiles. To execute the contract successfully for the sensors and build them to Lockheed’s standards, 14 people went through IPC-A-610 previous SDF grant-funded training with Richland College, and all employees successfully passed the certification exam. As a direct result of this training, Micropac soon will be signing another contract with Lockheed.

Garland Chamber of Commerce and DCMA CEO Paul Mayer discussed how the chamber’s partnership with Richland College, along with the creation of the DCMA to meet the specific needs of manufacturers, has benefited not just area employers, but the City of Garland and its residents, including the creation of the Gilbreath-Reed Career and Technical Center, where advanced-level career and technical education courses are provided to Garland Independent School District students.

“The city recognizes it in terms of how we build infrastructure, how we build housing, how we build all the things that industry needs,” said Mayer.

The SDF program at Richland College Garland Campus provides customized job-training programs for businesses who want to train new workers or upgrade the skills of their existing workforce. The program is a partnership among Richland College Garland Campus, TWC and community business partners. For additional information about the Skills Development Fund program, visit https://www.richlandcollege.edu/aboutrlc/garland-campus/pages/skills-development-fund.aspx.


Masonry students from the Richland College South Dallas Training Center built brick walls as part of their final project for the construction skills masonry certificate program. First Masonry Training Program Completed At Richland College South Dallas Training Center

For those who have completed the construction skills masonry course at the Richland College South Dallas Training Center (SDTC), putting up walls is easy. This seven-week, non-credit, workforce training course was designed for quick completion, industry certification and has a work experience component for immediate employment success.

Last month, the SDTC graduated its first class of students from this program, at the end of which they literally built walls.

“Masonry has always been a part of my life,” said Javiar Arias, lead instructor for the construction skills masonry class. “The masonry trade comes from my great, great grandfather, and I love teaching it to others. This class will help students not only build a career, but also be a better person in life. Our first masonry class literally showed us how one person can build something with his or her own hands.”

This training program is a mixture of classroom work and hands-on experience, and it takes place off-site at A-Star Stucco and Masonry and the Construction Compliance Training Center of the Hispanic Contractors Association de Tejas.

“I took this class to make myself a better worker and to understand the structural mentality of not only masons, but also engineers and architects,” said Kristopher DeAlva, a recent masonry student. “The part I enjoyed most was learning how to lay a concrete masonry unit and brick. The class helped me understand structures in building as well as architectural design. It opened a new perspective in the path I want to follow in the future to create my own buildings and manage a small business.”

This masonry class prepares students for a job as construction masonry laborers or bricklayers after they complete the program. This was the first time this class has been offered at SDTC, which opened in the spring of 2017.

“I took this class because I wanted a career in something that my family had experience in; I wanted to follow in their footsteps,” said Juan Aguilar, another masonry student. “It was so informative, and the people were great and very well-educated. Not one question went unanswered, and I have never felt more comfortable learning something new. This class helped me further my education on safety and the importance of small details when it comes to construction. I hope to one day have a small business of my own.”

At the end of the course, students showcased their newly acquired masonry skills to construction employers by building a wall unit with a print set, mixing all materials and completing the wall in a set time frame.

“I enjoyed teaching this class,” said Hector Dechner, the instructor for construction math and blueprint reading. “It was successful. The students met all the learning objectives and progressed in basic masonry knowledge. This class will open many opportunities in the construction field for our graduates. It also taught them knowledge and skills necessary for many different job opportunities.”

The SDTC was created through a partnership between Richland College Garland Campus and the Innercity Community Development Corporation in South Dallas Fair Park. It is a workforce training center that offers non-credit, short-term employment training programs in areas including office/accounting skills, construction skills and industrial logistics. Tuition, books and classroom materials are free to those who qualify.

For more information about the South Dallas Training Center, visit richlandcollege.edu/aboutrlc/sdtc.


Richland College Receives $804,845 Grant from Texas Workforce Commission in Check-Signing Ceremony

A group of people standing with a large check.Richland College, Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), Garland Chamber of Commerce and local business representatives were present at a check-signing ceremony April 13 at Richland College Garland Campus to award Richland College with a $804,845 Skills Development Fund Grant from the TWC.

The grant will be used by Richland College to create or update 430 jobs at nine Dallas County Manufacturers’ Association companies, including Aloe Vera of America; Altronic Controls; Ecolab; General Dynamics; Hatco; Marlow Industries; Sherwin Williams; Unity Manufacturing; and VEKA South, Inc.

Training under the grant includes AutoCAD, electrical basics and troubleshooting, hydraulics, ARC Flash, motor controls, Lean Manufacturing, CPR, Microsoft Office, project management, Six Sigma Green Belt and leadership.

“Richland College Garland Campus appreciates the ongoing confidence that the Texas Workforce Commission and area manufacturers place in us an experienced, high-quality, results-focused training provider,” said Kathryn K. Eggleston, Ph.D., president of Richland College. “We remain ready to anticipate and exceed expectations in training delivery for these business partners and other business partners in our Garland community and beyond.”

“Garland is extremely proud to be a manufacturing community,” said Paul Mayer, CEO of the Garland Chamber of Commerce and DCMA.

Event speakers included Eggleston, Mayer, Richland College Garland Campus Associate Dean of Workforce Development Kimberly Wilkins, TWC Chairman and Commissioner Andres Alcantar and Unity Manufacturing CEO Richard Buferd.


Richland College Garland Campus Receives $1,323,223 Texas Workforce Commission Grant

The Texas Workforce Commission recently presented Richland College Garland Campus with a $1,323,223 Skills Development Fund grant to train 213 new hires and 487 incumbent employees at RealPage, Inc. During an 18-month period, 39 courses will be offered for a total of 26,200 hours of training to RealPage employees.

“Through our partnership with the Texas Workforce Commission, we have expanded our capabilities to provide training in some of the newest IT tools and emerging technologies to RealPage and other local companies,” said Nicole Reed, Skills Development Fund grant and corporate liaison for the Richland College Garland Campus. “We are very pleased to be working with RealPage, in addition to fulfilling our mission to serve the business community by developing lifelong learners through workforce training.”

More than 56 percent of this grant training will focus in specialized and emerging IT technologies, including virtualization and cloud computing software, software frameworks for supporting web-based applications developed by RealPage object-relational database management systems and queries, business intelligence and performance management software, data integration from multiple sources for query and analysis and object-oriented programming.

There are also 13 new IT courses included in this project. These courses include training in .NET 4.5, Agile: Effective User Story Writing, Cognos Basic, Cognos Report Development, Cognos Administration and Metadata Modeling, Data Warehousing, Javascript for Modern Web Development, MySQL, PostgreSQL DBA Foundations, PowerShell, SQL Queries, VMware and Technical Data Presentation.

Other training sessions that will be offered include accounting for non-accountants, C#, CPR, financial spreadsheets, Lean Office, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Project, project management, root cause analysis, statistical process control, total quality management, business writing, collaboration, conflict management, motivating your team, setting performance expectations and time management.

RealPage, Inc. is a leading provider of software solutions for real estate property management. Its software solutions products and services assist approximately 11,000 customers in managing the operations of more than 10 million rental housing units and more than 200 million square feet of commercial office, retail, industrial and mixed use properties. Relocating its headquarters to Richardson accommodates more than 600 new positions and an anticipated additional employment growth of approximately 2,000 employees by 2018.

Richland College Garland Campus is an award-winning community campus focused on workforce training and development for those entering the workforce and those currently employed who want to enhance their skill set.

For more information about RealPage, Inc., visit realpage.com. For more information about Richland College Garland Campus, visit richlandcollege.edu/garland-campus.


Richland College Receives $500,388 Grant from Texas Workforce Commission in Check-Signing Ceremony
Several people surround a large check.

Representatives from Richland College, Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), Dallas County Manufacturers’ Association, Garland Chamber of Commerce and local business representatives were present at a check-signing ceremony Wednesday morning at Richland College Garland Campus to award Richland College with a $500,388 Skills Development Fund Grant by the TWC. Photo by Paul Knudsen.

Richland College, Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), Dallas County Manufacturers’ Association (DCMA), Garland Chamber of Commerce and local business representatives were present at a check-signing ceremony Wednesday morning at Richland College Garland Campus to award Richland College with a $500,388 Skills Development Fund Grant from the TWC.

The grant will be used by Richland College to train 285 employees, totaling more than 9,278 training hours, for companies including Garrett Metal Detectors; Interceramic; Plastipak Packaging, Inc.; Sanden Vendo; SilverLine by Andersen and Van Rob. Employees being trained will include manufacturing and production supervisors and technicians, purchasing clerks and human resource personnel.

Training under the grant includes AutoCAD, process improvement, electrical basics and troubleshooting, hydraulics, blueprint reading, Lean manufacturing, Six Sigma Green Belt, CPR/first aid/AED, project management and Microsoft Office. Upon completion of training, the workers will receive an average hourly wage of $21.71.

“This grant enables our partnership to expand technical and non-technical training to the employees at six Garland-area and regional manufacturing companies, continuing to leverage our abilities to grow manufacturing capabilities in the Garland area and contributing to a skilled Texas workforce and growing economic base in our local area, region and state,” said Richland College President Kathryn K. Eggleston, Ph.D.

Event speakers included Eggleston, Richland College Garland Campus Director of Corporate and Community Relations Konley Kelley, TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronald G. Congleton, SilverLine by Andersen Human Resources Manager Marvin Fisher and Garland Chamber and DCMA CEO Paul Mayer.

“Our Skills Development Fund grant serves everyone well,” said Congleton. “Workers get the specialized training they need, and the communities benefit from a more highly skilled workforce.”


Richland College Offers On-Site Training and Potential for Advancement to Associa Employees
JJ Moreno poses in a cubicle with his three certificates.

JJ Moreno, lead accountant at Associa, posts on his cubicle his three certificates of completion for on-site training from Richland College. Photograph by Paul Knudsen.

At the Associa Shared Services Center in Richardson, Tex., many of the cubicles in the open concept office are adorned with certificates of completion from Richland College. They serve as points of pride, showcasing that the holders are furthering their education. The certificates and the training completion they represent provide the potential for career advancement for the several hundred people who show up for work each day at this Associa location.

Last October, The Texas Workforce Commission presented Richland College with a $449,988 Skills Development Fund grant to train 222 new hires and 79 incumbent workers at the Associa Shared Services Center. Since then, Richland College has been providing the workers with classes on customer service, supervisor leadership, Lean office processes, Microsoft Excel and accounting.

“Overall, everyone is very happy with it. They take pride in the fact they’ve gone, post the certificate on their board, discuss who goes next and what sessions are available,” said Eric Blanchard, director of client accounts payable for Associa. “On the job side, they’re looking for ways to apply their learning. I get folks who have attended the Lean session and are trying to figure out how they can apply it to a project they’re working on. They don’t just want to take the course. They want to take it to that next step.”

Stephanie Taylor, director of data management organization at Associa, agreed. “[The employees] have been excited about the fact that they can see we’re investing in them, and that’s always a big bonus in regards to morale and building that sense of support and team spirit for them,” she said.

From the employees’ perspective, the training has not only allowed them the opportunity to learn new skills that can then be translated back to their jobs, but it has also provided them a way to further their dreams and career goals.

JJ Moreno, a lead accountant with Associa, said it felt good to be getting continuing education credit with Richland College because it’s helping him achieve his goals. With the training, Moreno is hoping to build his career with Associa and move up within the company. So far, the classes have helped him not only polish his skills, but they have also allowed him to approach problem solving from new angles.

“The classes have been a lot of help because they definitely make me think twice before I act in a certain way,” said Moreno. “I now try to always approach things in a different way so that I can get a better outcome.”

Debbie Simpson, the tax and banking manager, might be Associa’s biggest advocate for the training provided by Richland College. Not only has she completed multiple sessions herself, but she was also instrumental in ensuring her employees were the first group to complete the customer service training.

“I haven’t heard anything negative about the training,” said Simpson. “I’ve heard them say, ‘oh, I want to take that class!’ or ‘I want to do this!’ It’s very valuable to the company and the team.”

“I think it’s a great opportunity we have as a company to have this training available,” Simpson continued. “If we’re having this training offered to us, we need to utilize it.”

Simpson places a priority on ensuring her staff has opportunities to grow in their careers and hopes the training will allow her to promote more employees from within her department.

“You want the success of your staff so they can move up and do better things,” Simpson said.

Overall, the management team at the Associa Shared Services Center echoes Simpson’s sentiments on the training and how it has affected not only the skillsets of their employees, but the morale of the company as a whole.

“To me, it’s been exciting,” said Blanchard. “That’s a good word for it. As a manager, seeing employees excited about attending a course and figuring out how they can leverage that going forward is great.”

Associa was founded in 1979 by Texas State Senator John Carona and is North America’s largest community association management firm with more than 150 branch offices worldwide. The company serves homeowner associations of all types, including condo, mixed-use, master-planned, luxury high-rise, active-adult, resort and golf communities.