Category Archives: News

A group of students hold awards and pose with Richland president Kay Eggleston and the TRIO director Anita Jones. Richland College TRIO Student Support Services Celebrates 25 Years

Richland College TRIO Student Support Services recently celebrated its 25-year anniversary during an on-campus reception. The TRIO-SSS program at Richland College is a component of the federal TRIO programs funded by U.S. Department of Education, and it serves approximately 270 students annually.

“TRIO programs are part of a legacy of educational equity stemming from the Civil Rights movement and established from the Educational Opportunity Act of 1964,” said Anita Jones, director of community programs for TRIO-SSS at Richland College. “Each year, Richland’s TRIO-SSS program contributes data on persistence, good academic standing and certificate and transfer rates to the U.S. Department of Education. The 2016-17 academic year, we exceeded 22 percent above the baseline in our certificate completion reporting.”

TRIO is a set of federally funded college-based educational opportunity outreach programs that equip and support students from low-income backgrounds — including military veterans and students with disabilities. Currently serving more than 828,000 students from middle school through post-graduate study, TRIO provides academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring, financial guidance and other support necessary to promote college access, retention and graduation.

TRIO programs assist students in overcoming the obstacles they face as the first generation in their families to attend and graduate from a four-year university. Today, an estimated 5 million students have graduated from college with the support and assistance of TRIO programs across the country. For more information about TRIO programs, visit ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/trio/index.html.

Since 1993, The TRIO-SSS program at Richland College has assisted eligible students in achieving their academic pursuits by offering a number of customized academic components designed to increase college retention and graduation rates. These free services include academic advisement, tutoring, assistance in financial aid application, university field trips, college success workshops and cultural enrichment opportunities. For more information, visit richlandcollege.edu/sss.


Shannon Cunningham, M.T. Hickman and Dwight Riley pose together, with M.T. holding her award from MPI. Richland College HEEM Lead Faculty M.T. Hickman Honored with Leadership Award from MPI DFW Chapter

M.T. Hickman, lead faculty of Richland College’s Hospitality, Exhibitions and Event Management program, was honored with the Colleen Rickenbacher Leadership Award at the 16th annual Certified Meeting Professional and Certificate in Meeting Management Recognition Event, hosted by the Dallas/Ft. Worth chapter of Meeting Professionals International April 26.

Hickman was one of three finalists for the award, and her selection was based on her impact on enhancing the relationships with meeting professionals and students in Richland College’s HEEM program. Her efforts have not only raised the visibility of the program, but she has a history of actively engaging students at industry events and encouraging them to join professional organizations and pursue industry certifications.

“M.T. is passionate about the industry and works hard to provide hands-on learning opportunities for Richland College HEEM students,” said Dwight Riley, dean of the Richland College School of Business. “She is a leader who inspires her students and colleagues to pursue their dreams.”

The Colleen Rickenbacher Leadership Award recognizes a member of the MPI Dallas/Ft. Worth chapter who makes a difference in the meetings industry through leadership contributions, commitment to education and advocacy in the cause of professional certifications.

Hickman, a CMP and Certified Protocol Etiquette and Civility Professional, is also a co-founder and current co-chair of the IMEX America and IMEX Frankfurt Faculty Engagement Programs that are part of the annual IMEX America and Frankfurt exhibitions for incentive travel, meetings and events. The Faculty Engagement Programs bring together faculty from around the world to discuss issues in meetings and events related to preparing students for careers in the industry.

In addition, for 16 years Hickman has brought together industry leaders and students to plan and produce the HEEM Scholarship Luncheon and Silent Auction, an annual event that has now raised more than $50,000 in scholarship funds for HEEM students at Richland College.

The Richland College HEEM program offers courses in the hospitality industry that prepare students for jobs as a marketing coordinator, show director, sales administrator, meeting manager, special events coordinator and event planners. Students can complete the Meetings and Events Management certificate, Hospitality and Tourism Management certificate or the Hospitality, Exhibitions and Event Management Associate of Applied Sciences degree.

MPI is the largest meeting and event industry association worldwide. Founded in 1972, MPI provides innovative and relevant education, networking opportunities and business exchanges and acts as a prominent voice for the promotion and growth of the industry. MPI has a global community of 60,000 meeting and event professionals and more than 90 chapters and clubs in 19 countries.


Natalie Tran stands at a podium, smiling and addressing a crowd behind the photographer. Eight Richland College Students Recieve APIASF AANAPISI Scholarships

Eight Richland College students recently received the Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution 2018 scholarships. These students include Tran (Jenni) Tran, Joe Cung Tha Lian, Khiem Huynh, Ngan (Natalie) Tran, Roshan Karki, Suhail Sabharwal, Tha Blay Paw and Tho Trieu. They were honored at a scholarship reception on campus May 2.

“I am happy to see students using resources offered to them,” said Michelle Nguyen, AANAPISI program services coordinator at Richland College. “I am so proud of all of the students who received the APIASF AANAPISI scholarship, and I know this means a lot to them. I have seen that they are more confident and motivated since receiving this recognition.”

Jenni Tran, originally from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, is majoring in business. Lian, originally from Chin, Myanmar, is majoring in education. Huynh, originally from Vietnam, is majoring in computer science with a minor in software engineering. Natalie Tran, originally from Vietnam, is majoring in hospitality management. Karki, originally from Nepal, is majoring in computer science. Sabharwal, from Dallas, is majoring in healthcare administration. Paw, originally from the refugee camp Umphiem in Thailand, is majoring in accounting. Trieu, originally from Chau Phu District, An Giang Province, Vietnam, is majoring in accounting.

The APIASF AANAPISI scholarship is given to students attending APIASF AANAPISI partner colleges and universities, who live at or below the poverty level, are the first in their families to attend college, are representative of the Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) community’s diversity and have placed strong emphasis on community service, leadership and academic achievement. For more information, visit apiasf.org/aanapisischolarship.

Richland College is the only higher education institution in Texas that has been awarded an AANAPISI grant due to its large percentage of APIA student population. It was awarded a second five-year, $1.5 million grant in 2015. The AANAPISI program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education under the Office of Postsecondary Education for five consecutive years. The AANAPISI program at Richland College aims to recognize and support the needs of our growing APIA student population by providing resources and opportunities for degree attainment and advancement. For more information, visit richlandcollege.edu/sliferlc/aanapisi.


Charles Coldewey poses near the winning artwork with U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson. Richland College Gallery Coordinator Selected as Jury for 2018 U.S. Congressional Art Competition

Richland College gallery coordinator Charles Coldewey was recently selected to serve on the jury for the 2018 U.S. Congressional Art Competition for the 30th Congressional District of Texas, represented by U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson.

Richland College resides within the 30th district of Texas. Coldewey is one of five individuals from schools within Johnson’s district selected to be on the jury for the competition.

“This is both a privilege and honor to be asked to be involved, and it’s a great opportunity to represent Richland in the community,” said Coldewey. “I have a deep love for the arts, and I want to support young artists whenever possible.”

Coldewey visited Johnson’s office to judge 98 student-submitted works of art, and he was also a guest speaker at the Congressional Art Competition reception April 20 at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas.

Victoria Taylor of the Cambridge School of Dallas was selected as the grand prize winner of the competition. Cree Agent of Bishop Dunne Catholic School won second prize and Natalie Carvajal of Booker T. Washington High School finished third. As part of her prize, Taylor’s winning artwork will be displayed for one year in the Cannon Tunnel, a tunnel in Washington, D.C., connecting the Cannon House Office Building with the U.S. Capitol.

In addition to serving as gallery coordinator and teaching three-dimensional design, advanced design and sculpture classes at Richland College, Coldewey is an active member of the north Texas art community. He holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of North Texas, is on the Ft. Worth Arts Panel and is on the artist registry for Dallas and Ft. Worth.

The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 and is an annual competition open to high school students and sponsored by the Congressional Institute. A winner is submitted from each congressional district by the district’s member of Congress.


Two Richland College Computer Information Technology Faculty Members Named Expert Level Instructors by Cisco Networking Academy

Richland College computer information technology faculty members Rod Lamb and Rich Park were recently honored by Cisco Networking Academy with the Expert Level Instructor Excellence Award, a distinction that recognizes Lamb and Park as being in the top 10 percent of the academy’s instructors globally.

Lamb, also the computer information technology program administrator, has more than 18 years of experience as a Cisco Networking Academy instructor and has been previously awarded the Expert Level Excellence Award in 2014, 2015 and 2017. In addition, he has also twice received the Advanced Level Excellence Award, recognizing the top 25 percent of instructors globally.

Park also has more than 18 years of experience as a Cisco Networking Academy instructor and was previously awarded the Expert Level Excellence Award in 2013, 2016 and 2017. He also has twice previously received the Advanced Level Excellence Award.

“It’s nice to get the recognition,” said Lamb. “I think it shows the quality of the instructional faculty we have here, and I think that’s what spoke to me the most when I got it: the level of knowledge and expertise we have at Richland College.” Lamb went on to explain that very few other colleges had more than one instructor on the list of Expert Level Excellence Award winners.

Cisco Networking Academy program awards are determined using an instructor recognition score based on several factors, including participation in regional instructor online groups; participation in Cisco professional development opportunities; attention to student needs, measured by satisfaction with lab facilitation and student interest in the courses; student performance on the first attempt of the final exam; and instructor use of Cisco resources such as assessments.

Richland College offers courses that prepare students for the Cisco Certified Networking Associate and Cisco Certified Networking Professional exams. In this training, students learn how to design, build and secure intelligent networks while developing other skills such as leadership and collaboration. The CCNA certification is a foundation-level networking certification, while the CCNP is more advanced and shows that the certificate holder has the networking expertise to meet the needs of varying IT and networking job roles.

Cisco Systems, Inc. develops, manufactures and sells networking hardware, telecommunications equipment and other high technology services and products and is the largest networking company in the world.

Cisco Networking Academy program began in 1997 when Cisco donated networking equipment to a local school, but it sat unused because no one was trained on it. Realizing this gap, Cisco stepped in and trained the staff to build their network, and Cisco Networking Academy Program grew from a single school to an ever-expanding community of students, educators, employers, non-governmental organizations, Cisco employees and customers. Cisco Networking Academy has impacted more than 7.8 million students in 180 countries, partnering with 22,000 educators and instructors at 10,400 academies.


four women from russia are at the front of a classroom, addressing students who are not pictured. Richland College Hosts Presentations from Russian Women to Further Mission of Teaching, Learning and Community Building

Richland College students, faculty and staff had the opportunity to engage in discussions and hear the stories of four women from various regions of Russia during two presentations hosted by the Richland College Institute for Peace, Richland College Honors Program and the Global Education Development Advisory Council on March 29.

The women were Lena Novomeyskaya of Yekaterinburg and born in west Ukraine, Elena Ivanova of St. Petersburg, Tatyana Bukharina of Yalta in Crimea and Natalie Ivanova of Krasnodar. They came to the U.S. as part of the first Russians Meet Mainstream America (RMMA) program developed by the Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCI), an organization dedicated to reducing tensions between the U.S. and Russia and debunking misunderstandings through citizen-to-citizen exchanges, public relations and social media efforts in both countries.

During the sessions at Richland College, the women addressed the audience and told stories about their histories and what it has been like to live in Russia, including how their lives changed when the Soviet Union was dissolved. Discussion also included their perceptions and opinions of Americans, the Russian economy, Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and other timely issues. The purpose of the discussions was not to argue or debate, but to share different points of view to educate the citizens in both countries.

“I was brought up on the idea that America is a friend of Russia,” Natalie Ivanova told the audience during the second presentation. “My father participated in the Stalingrad battle in 1942 during the second World War. He was wounded in this battle, and when I was a child he told me a lot of stories about the war, and he told me that he was very grateful to the United States.”

Bukharina’s story received particular interest from many audience members when she discussed her home in Crimea, a peninsula on the northern coast of the Black Sea in Eastern Europe that, while previously a Russian province, became a Ukrainian territory in 1954. In 2014, Russian troops captured strategic sites across Crimea and annexed the territory, a move that was generally condemned by many world leaders because it was considered to be a violation of both international law and Russian agreements that safeguarded the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Bukharina told the audience about how, despite international opinion to the contrary, many Crimean citizens supported this annexation by Russia for many reasons, including Ukraine’s violation of Crimean human rights, such as cutting the water supply to many citizens, including farmers.

“This morning I checked my [e]mail, and my friends know that we are here with the program Center for Citizen Initiatives, and that we’re working as volunteers, and friends from Sevastopol wrote, ‘give a big thank you to the American people for returning Crimea back to Russia,’” Bukharina said. After a pause, she added, “Are you surprised?”

Honors English student Ryan Morrow participated in the question-and-answer session, and later he commented on what he learned about the effects the dissolution of the Soviet Union had on the Russian people, a common thread discussed by all four women.

“I didn’t realize how much of an economic effect the end of the Soviet Union had on the Russian economy and how much work, or how much damage, it actually did that is still persistent in their society,” said Morrow.

Similarly, Morrow’s classmate Victoria Patterson felt the presentation opened her eyes more because the women discussed many issues that are generally not mentioned by the American media.

“I think it’s really interesting how they’re saying Americans really aren’t portrayed negatively over there, yet our media typically demonizes them so much,” said Patterson. “I didn’t know most of the stuff about what happened in Crimea that Tatyana [Bukharina] was talking about, so I think it’s interesting how much we have kind of been allowed to hide.”

“What is most valuable about this meeting between Richland College students and our Russian visitors through CCI is face-to-face dialogue that brings authenticity and honesty to the forefront and dissolves the barriers created by second- or third-hand news and simple ignorance,” said English faculty member and Richland College Institute for Peace and Human Rights coordinator Scott Branks del Llano, Ph.D. “Conversations are wonderful equalizers, and this event offered humane and compassionate conversations where empathy and peaceful understanding rose above the suspicion and divisiveness that permeates much of the media regarding Russian and U.S. relations. We need to engage in many more such forums of hospitable dialogue.”

In addition to Dallas, this first RMMA delegation’s itinerary includes Atlanta, Fort Worth, San Francisco and Washington D.C.

CCI was founded in 1983 with the hope that ordinary Americans could help bring about a constructive relationship with the Soviet Union. A CCI travel program soon became a reality, with American citizens visiting Russia and Soviet republics, with the travelers developing Soviet contacts. In 1988, Soviets Meet Middle America (SMMA) was the first program that brought non-party member Soviet citizens to the U.S.

Other past CCI successes include helping bring Alcoholics Anonymous to Russia; creating an economic development program in 1989 to train young English-speaking Russian entrepreneurs in how to start a business by organizing internships for them in American companies; shipping both cold-tolerant seeds and emergency food boxes when the Soviet Union dissolved; founding programs to train Russian small business owners and to train young Russian women in the apparel industry to encourage self-employment; and teaching orphanage children computer technology skills. In 2010, CCI closed its doors after funding had evaporated during the prior several years.

CCI was revived in 2015 by its founder and president Sharon Tennison, and a travel program was restarted for Americans to visit Russia. RMMA was then initiated in 2018 in response to the growing tensions between the U.S. and Russia, with the intent of bringing Russian citizens to the U.S. to discuss major issues between the countries and reduce stereotypes and misinformation.

The Richland College Institute for Peace is committed to educating for peace, justice and the abolition of conditions that give rise to violence and war. It fosters an interdependent community that actively pursues peaceable living, resolution of conflict and respect for human dignity, contributing to the goal of global peace, justice and friendship among peoples. Programs for students, employees and the community are offered through the traditional academic curriculum, continuing education, professional development and teleconferences.

The Richland College Honors Program provides highly qualified students with an enriched and challenging academic community where they develop the capabilities necessary to excel in their educational and career goals.

For additional information, visit ccisf.org, richlandcollege.edu/peace and richlandcollege.edu/honors.


TWCIT Consortium check-signing ceremony Richland College Receives $523,089 Grant from Texas Workforce Commission in Check-Signing Ceremony

Richland College, Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), City of Richardson and local Richardson information technology industry representatives participated in a check-signing ceremony March 22 at Argo Data Resource, Inc. Richland College was awarded a $523,089 Skills Development Fund grant by the Texas Workforce Commission to train 197 IT employees, totaling more than 8,334 training hours, for Richardson’s first IT Consortium, consisting of Richardson employers Argo Data Resource, Inc., a financial and healthcare software company; GXA Network Solutions, an IT help support company; and the Wilkins Group, a telecommunication support company.

Training under the grant includes business technical, general technical and non-technical training in subjects ranging from specific software applications to accounting to customer service and more. In addition to training incumbent employees, this grant will add 21 new jobs to the IT Consortium companies.

“This training, delivered by Richland College Garland Campus, empowers employees through enhanced skill development and provides the companies with a competitive edge in an ever-changing global IT market,” said Richland College president Kathryn K. Eggleston, Ph.D.

At the ceremony, Eggleston also spoke about the impact this training will have on their employers and the local economy, as well as applauding each company involved for their dedication to enhancing the skills of their workforces and expanding the economic base of Richardson, the North Texas region and the state of Texas.

“Richland College appreciates the ongoing confidence the Texas Workforce Commission, the Richardson business community and company partners place in us as a dependable, experienced, high-quality, results-focused training provider,” Eggleston said. “We remain ready and willing to serve.”

“Everything requires IT. That’s what makes what you’re doing here so impressive,” Texas Workforce Commission commissioner representing labor, Julian Alvarez, said. He addressed the gathered crowd and discussed technology’s rapid growth and change and how businesses statewide in all sectors require employees with IT skills, noting that Richland College has been listening to the local business community and providing customized training to fit the needs of these employers.

“The regional impact of this training, and the commitment by our three entities today, is $4.4 million in the local community, and that’s just one grant that we’re doing,” said Alvarez.

At Argo Data Resource, Inc., GXA Network Solutions and the Wilkins Group, training is already underway, with additional courses to be taught during the coming months.

“We’ve gained skills that we’re going to use to implement better IT projects and better IT solutions that will help build stronger Texas businesses,” said George Makaye, president of GXA Network Solutions.

Upon completion of this training, Richland College hopes to continue working with the Texas Workforce Commission to receive additional Skills Development Fund grants to offer training opportunities to additional Richardson-based IT businesses every six months.

“We are very thankful for the continued partnership between Richland College and the Texas Workforce Commission,” said Richardson mayor Paul Voelker. “During the past several years, their combined efforts have created millions of dollars in training opportunities for Richardson businesses, and this latest investment will serve as another prime example we will use to retain and attract jobs to our Telecom Corridor® area.”

The Richardson Economic Development Partnership, a joint initiative established by the City of Richardson and the Richardson Chamber of Commerce dedicated to building a vibrant and thriving local economy, has now assisted Richland College in facilitating Skills Development Fund grants totaling nearly $3 million to five Richardson companies since 2014.

“We’re thrilled that connections made through the chamber helped bring together Richardson businesses with this highly technical training,” said Richardson Chamber president Bill Sproull. “We’re proud of Richland College’s partnership in preparing our workforce for the valuable technical opportunities we continue to attract to Richardson.”

For additional information about the Skills Development Fund program with Richland College and the TWC, visit https://www.richlandcollege.edu/aboutrlc/garland-campus/pages/skills-development-fund.aspx.


Richland College Student Green Team Hosting Used Clothing Fundraiser March 19-April 8

Spring is a season of starting fresh, giving back and going green, and the Richland College Student Green Team (SGT) is doing just that and has partnered with the World Wear Project Green Fundraiser Program to host a Clothing Recycling Project fundraiser.

From Mar. 19-Apr. 8, a World Wear Project donation bin will be located in the first parking row of Parking Lot E on the Richland College campus. The SGT invites the community to stop by the bin and donate gently used clothing, shoes, purses, belts, wallets, hats, backpacks, toys, pots and pans and more during this fundraiser. Many of the donated items will be shipped globally to help businesses and disaster victims and will help reduce the amount of waste taking up space in local landfills. In addition, the SGT will earn 12 cents per pound to help fund their educational resources, project materials, supplies, field trips, team T-shirts and recognition awards.

“Last April, we conducted a test pilot of having the World Wear Project bin temporarily in Parking Lot E, and we collected 672 pounds of items, raising $80,” said Sonia Ford, Richland College sustainability project coordinator and a member of the Dallas County Community College District Sustainability Team. “This year we have selected a more visible location, extended the timeframe from two weeks to three and increased the Student Green Team member participation to bring awareness to the fundraiser and have increased our advertising efforts. We hope to collect more items to help the community recycle, divert more materials from landfills, help those in need and raise money for the SGT.”

The mission of the SGT is to promote sustainability awareness and encourage environmentally conscious behavior through raising awareness about ecological issues and engaging in environmental, recycling and conservation energy activities to build a more sustainable local and world community for a greener tomorrow.

The World Wear Project is a nonprofit organization that makes clothing and shoes affordable and available to people domestically and internationally; helps schools, places of worship, community centers, charities and other nonprofits generate needed funds; and promotes global responsibility. More information is available at worldwearproject.com.

Richland College has tracked energy consumption since 1975, and it currently provides and tracks the recycling of 38 different materials while maintaining and monitoring an onsite waste-management program. Last year alone, Richland College recycled 485 tons of materials. In 2017, Richland College became the first and only educational institution to be awarded the City of Dallas Zero Waste Management Gold Level Green Business certification for its efforts in preventing waste, incorporating recycling and promoting reuse, reduce and compost in its operations. In 2010 and 2011, Richland College was awarded the Environmental Protection Agency WasteWise Award for University and College Partner of the Year. Richland College also won the national Recyclemania Grand Championship in 2016 and the Texas Grand Championship each year from 2010 to 2017. For more information about Richland College’s green initiatives, visit richlandcollege.edu/greenrichland.

Richland College is located at 12800 Abrams Rd.


Richland College Looks Back at Accomplishments from $3.25 Million U.S. Department of Labor Grant

When Richland College was awarded the $3.25 million Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor in Sept. 2014, the potential impact on local industry was evident. The funds from this grant, along with multiple partnerships with employers in Dallas, Richardson and Garland, would equip Richland College with the tools and technology needed to train local veterans and others seeking to enter or re-enter the high-demand technology job market. In turn, local companies would receive qualified employees ready for immediate employment and trained on industry-recognized equipment.

Richland College’s Technology, Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing (TEAM) Center is a very tangible result of the TAACCCT grant funds. The space is fully equipped with leading edge, industry-quality technology that allows engineering and manufacturing students to have relevant, hands-on experience and career-focused training. It features an advanced manufacturing center, electronics engineering equipment, a robotics training lab and multiple classrooms for additional technology training.

It is in this innovative, technologically advanced place that the other tangible results of the grant have been taking shape as students prepare to enter the workforce.

Cisco Iturbe is an electrical engineering technology student at Richland College and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. He has been attending Richland College for several semesters and is looking forward to graduating soon with one course remaining. His immediate goal is to get a job in the electrical engineering field, and he hopes eventually to own his own business.

After completing four years of active duty and two years in the reserves, Iturbe came to Richland College because of the equipment he saw set up in the labs, which he felt allowed students the opportunity to learn in an industry-standard environment and gain vital hands-on experience. As a student, the variety of equipment available has also provided Iturbe the opportunity to enhance his electronics technology education with experience in other areas that may help him in the future, such hydraulics, manufacturing and robotics.

“For me, doing things hands-on is very important,” said Iturbe. “Once you get your hands on something, it makes a world of difference because if you’ve never touched it, you don’t know what it feels like or what it does. If you don’t know that, then how are you going to do anything with it? So Richland College gives me the opportunity to learn and embed it as a muscle memory, not just an educational memory.”

“I would recommend Richland because of the different areas they teach you,” said Iturbe. “I’m here for electronics, but I’ve learned a few other things that have helped. Richland is here to help in a lot of ways—so many people want to help you. The staff is really uplifting, and the professors really know their stuff.”

According to Garth Clayton, Ph. D., Richland College’s dean of resource development, Iturbe is one of approximately 50 veterans who are now involved in the advanced manufacturing or electronics technology programs in the TEAM Center.

“One of the things we offer here is the replication of the real experience,” said Clayton. “We have invested a great deal of our resources in offering different brands of the same equipment that people use in real life. And what happens is that [the students] learn to do everything here to walk into the job, able to work with whatever the employer provides. So they are hitting the ground running whenever they obtain one of our degrees or certificates.”

Advanced manufacturing student Monica Lee has watched the TEAM Center develop around her and become a thriving learning space as she has studied at Richland College during the past three years.

“I was looking to do something with 3D modeling and design, things like AutoCAD and industrial design. I live here in Dallas, and I was doing research and saw that Richland had those classes offered here,” said Lee. “I came down and checked out the campus and was really impressed with what was available. Even though the lab wasn’t finished when I started, I got to see it come to fruition, and it’s just an amazing facility.”

To prepare Lee and other advanced manufacturing students, the program at Richland College teaches them each step of the process, starting with designing a part on a computer that will later be manufactured. From there, students design how the machine will cut the part, and once that is complete, they simply walk down the hall to the lab and actually create what they designed, cutting the metal and setting up the machines themselves. Lee describes this start-to-finish education as hands-on support to what students learn in the classroom, which to her is key to understanding what goes into the technical requirements of manufacturing.

Lee will graduate this May with not only her class experience, but also on-the-job training through an internship obtained via Richland’s corporate partnership with Raytheon Precision Manufacturing, where she hopes to continue working and growing in her career after graduating with an associate degree.

“All the technology at this internship was the same, and all the skills that I learned here [at Richland College] were immediately used from day one,” said Lee. “It helped me be able to shine in the job because I knew firsthand what was going on. So it was actually really seamless to go from Richland to my internship.”

While Iturbe and Lee are studying in different programs and have different goals, both of them, along with many other students, have benefited from the TAAACCCT grant and Richland College’s TEAM Center.

“Cisco [Iturbe] is a great example of someone who likes our program and can see a future for himself in it, and Monica [Lee] is also an example of the way that our students are able to transition into the workforce very quickly and very easily,” said Clayton. “As part of this community, which includes a very vibrant advanced manufacturing and electronics technology group of corporations and shops, we are pleased to be able to support them in this way.”

As a direct result of the grant, Richland College’s accomplishments to date include: 14,500 square feet of renovated space; $1.3 million worth of capital equipment and $400,000 worth of minor equipment, all installed and now operating since 2016; three additional faculty members and three additional staff members hired; two credit certificate and one continuing education certificate offerings added; 37 Associate of Applied Science degrees and 39 certificates in electronics and manufacturing awarded; 32 Associate of Applied Science degrees and 136 certificates in computer information technology awarded since that program’s inclusion in the grant; 292 students enrolled in electronics and manufacturing programs and 464 students in computer information technology programs in the 2018 spring semester; and 277 passed NIMS credentials in eight different credential exams. In addition, Richland College has also completed a cognitive task analysis and received new courseware for wire EDM, another common manufacturing process.

Even though the grant has ended, Richland College will continue to offer the curricula that were promised in the grant; offer credit for prior learning; add and replace additional equipment such as hydraulics, motor controls, modular assembly systems and programmable logic controllers; and will be adding new automation courses for aerospace, defense and communication needs.

Prior to installing the new equipment in the TEAM Center, Richland College donated all its previous, usable equipment to the Richardson Independent School District and the Garland Independent School District. Richland College also has technology-based early college high school programs with Dallas Independent School District’s Hillcrest High School and Emmett J. Conrad High School, giving high school students the opportunity to earn both their high school diploma and an Associate of Applied Science degree in just four years.

A recent event at Richland College celebrated these accomplishments and the student success that came as a direct result of the TAACCCT grant funds. At the event, Richardson mayor Paul Voelker spoke about the impact the grant had upon Richland College, and as a direct result, the impact of those workforce-ready students entering the local job force, specifically in Richardson’s Telecom Corridor.

“I’m keenly aware of what you’re doing here and the value added,” Voelker told the crowd. “It’s so important today that our employers know that their talent is here, and if it’s not here, we can create it here, or we can reinvent it here because we are always constantly learning.”

“Coming full-circle and seeing the advanced manufacturing capabilities that we can do right here, not only in the USA, but in north Texas, is pretty cool. We can compete with anybody in the world, at any level, because we have the talent and what it takes to make those businesses successful.”

For more information about Richland College’s School of Engineering and Technology or the TEAM Center, visit richlandcollege.edu/et.


Amazon Web Services Logo Richland College Offers Amazon Web Services Academy Curriculum Classes for Spring and Summer I Terms

Richland College has two upcoming Amazon Web Services (AWS) Academy curriculum classes, beginning March 19 and May 14, designed to prepare students for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate certification exam.

Taught by Richland College information technology and cloud computing faculty member Juli Hart, AWS solutions architect students will develop technical expertise in cloud computing and will have access to course manuals, online knowledge assessments, hands-on labs, a free practice certification exam and a discount voucher for the actual certification exam.

The classes are Monday and Wednesday evenings at 5:30 and last for eight weeks each.

“Cloud technology is the future,” said Hart. “Having familiarity with it, in some degree, is going to be a requirement for anyone wishing to be successful in IT.”

Cloud services platforms such as AWS provide rapid access to flexible and low-cost IT resources. Using cloud services allows companies to avoid the large, upfront expenses associated with servers, storage and applications, in addition to the heavy lifting and high cost of managing and maintaining that hardware. Cloud computing offers easy access to servers, storage, databases and a broad set of application services over the Internet, allowing users to retrieve and use resources they need almost instantly and only paying for what they use.

With AWS being the industry leader in cloud computing, AWS certification holders are extremely relevant and valued in today’s IT job market. According to the Global Knowledge 2017 IT Skills and Salary Survey, the average salary of AWS-certified professionals is 27.5 percent higher than those without an AWS certification.

For Hart, creating a rapport with her students at Richland College is easy. Hart used to be a Richland College student herself before becoming an instructor. Since then, she has alternated teaching at Richland College with consulting, all the while amassing an impressive list of software certifications, including but not limited to AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate, Linux+ and Network+, in addition to multiple certifications from Microsoft, VMWare, Cisco, Sonicwall, Citrix and Novell. Through this extensive experience, Hart is able to offer her students a real-world perspective as to how the class curriculum will assist their careers in the future, providing first-hand examples of real situations and tying together theories with practical experience.

Hart also recently taught an AWS apprenticeship program, in which military veterans learned about cloud-based solutions while also completing paid internships with Amazon. Through Hart’s instruction and guidance, every student in the first cohort successfully passed the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate certification. Hart will be soon teaching a second cohort of veterans, scheduled to start later this spring.

To register for classes at Richland College, visit richlandcollege.edu.