11 universities promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics to tomorrow’s workforce
DALLAS – Richland College in Dallas has received a $48,256 grant from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) as part of the Texas Youth in Technology (TYT) Strategic Workforce Development initiative. Supported with federal Workforce Investment Act Statewide Activity Funds, the workforce development strategy supports job-growth opportunities that align with Gov. Rick Perry’s Texas Industry Cluster Initiative.
“Educating our youth in advanced skills is one of the greatest tools we have to continue positioning Texas as a national and global economic leader,” said Gov. Perry. “Through support from the Texas Workforce Commission, these initiatives provide the foundation for future high-tech workforce success.”
Through its participation in TYT, Richland College of the Dallas County Community College District has clear-cut goals for supporting the governor’s initiatives and Texas employers.
“We are pleased that the TWC recognized our unique partnerships with the University of Texas at Dallas, the University of Texas at Arlington, and the University of North Texas to prepare students to enter those universities as juniors in their electrical engineering programs,” said Richland College president Stephen Mittelstet. “This funding will allow us to encourage and support even more students to enter that vital pipeline and succeed.”
The youth workforce development initiative will include an academic adviser to provide individual outreach to students earning Associate of Science degrees in engineering or computer science, helping to ensure successful completion of studies and transfer to the university level. Scholarships will cover tuition and textbook costs, and qualifying students will earn financial assistance. Faculty will mentor students, as well.
TYT and resulting projects will establish programs to increase postsecondary enrollments, retention, and graduates in engineering and computer science. Working with the Texas Engineering and Technical Consortium (TETC), the grant program also will increase collaboration among Texas employers, institutions of higher education, and collegiate engineering and science departments.
“A diverse workforce skilled in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is critical to the future economic success and competitiveness of Texas,” said Arturo Sanchez III, TETC chair and Texas Instruments manager of Workforce Development.
TWC has awarded 11 TYT grants totaling $2,410,764 million. In addition to Richland College, recipients include:
• Prairie View A&M University, $312,137
• Sam Houston State University, $178,386
• San Jacinto College, $230,984
• Southern Methodist University, $211,155
• Texas Tech University, $241,449
• The University of Texas at Arlington, $272,162
• The University of Texas at Austin, $221,841
• The University of Texas at Dallas, $242,000
• University of Houston, $300,000
• University of North Texas, $152,393
Last week, Richland College President, Dr. Stephen Mittelstet, and Richland Collegiate High School of Mathematics, Science, and Engineering (RCHS) Principal, Dr. Kristyn Edney, accepted a $15,000 check from the Metroplex Technology Business Council (MTBC). The check was part of RCHS’ winnings for the Tech Titan of the Future Award (University Level) received last September during the MTBC’s eighth annual awards gala. RCHS was recognized for its inventive approaches to “closing gaps in the K-16 Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) student pipeline in its region’s engineering technology-related workforce.”
Cindi Bond Keith, Tech Titan Awards co-chair, presented the check and had this to say about the award, “Overall what we were looking for were places to go and give money where they are trying to make an impact on the future and to what’s going on in engineering in our own market.”
The Tech Titan of the Future Award was created to recognize innovative programs in higher education that prepare students for future careers in engineering technology-related fields. The $15,000 will go toward scholarships for RCHS engineering students who have not completed their engineering course sequence when they receive their RCHS diploma. Scholarship funds will also be available to other Richland College engineering students.
For more information about this award, contact Anitra Cotton at 972-238-6022. To read other RCHS news, visit the Richland College news and media page.
(Dallas Morning News, The) Jan. 3–Downsized and depressed, Leigh Hoes was approaching 50 and wondering what to do with the rest of her work life.
Then one day, as she leafed through a course catalog that had arrived in the mail from Richland College in Dallas, the idea came to her.
Why not work in a pharmacy, dispensing prescriptions?
After all, she thought, a health care career had always appealed to her, the job was fairly recession-proof, and she could train for it in just one year.
Like many other baby boomers, the food technology specialist turned to a community college for help in changing careers. She enrolled in one of Richland’s health professions certificate programs.
Today, at 51, Ms. Hoes is a pharmacy technician at Parkland Memorial Hospital, filling prescriptions and waiting on customers.
“I’ve found my niche,” she said. “I see myself working in health care into my 60s and maybe 70s.”
Four in five boomers have told pollsters they intend to work past their traditional retirement age, and many want to find new jobs with a higher social purpose and more flexible hours.
Labor analysts, meanwhile, predict the U.S. economy will face shortages of 6 million workers by 2012 and 35 million workers by 2030. The hardest-hit fields will be education, health care and public service.
“The two trends present a historic opportunity for community colleges,” said Judy Goggin, a vice president for Civic Ventures, a think tank that’s helping people reinvent themselves in the second half of life.
Community colleges have typically been nimble at adapting their curriculum to new workforce demands, she said.
“The time’s right for developing programs for boomers trying to launch the next phase of their working lives and for employers faced with a brain drain over the next couple of decades,” Ms. Goggin said.
One community college that educators say is emerging as a national model for catering to boomer students is Richland, which is part of the Dallas County Community College District.
“Richland was among the first to reach out to retirees and is now in the vanguard of schools helping students in midlife,” said Norma Kent, an executive with the American Association of Community Colleges.
The college’s Emeritus program for retirees began in 1989 with 150 seniors and has since grown to more than 4,000 enrollments in daytime classes that teach everything from computer skills to genealogy.
Now the school will launch its Boomer Reboot program in January, with evening classes that will teach boomers how to look for a job, plan for retirement, care for aging parents and manage their own stress.
The new classes are in addition to Richland’s current health professions and teacher certification programs, which each year attract dozens of midlife students wanting to switch careers.
“We realize that boomers aren’t the same as their parents, so we’ve built a curriculum around their biggest concerns,” said Mitzi Werther, director of the college’s Emeritus and Boomer Reboot programs.
Richland will offer 17 courses specifically for boomers in this first year.
Career counselor Jill Waterbury, for example, will tell boomers returning to the job market how to write a resume that emphasizes their experience rather than age and how they should field interview questions.
“On resumes, I recommend going back only 15 years,” she said. “That’s not a deception — it’s a way to get you in the door.”
The new retirement-planning course has been tailor-made for boomers who say they haven’t saved enough, Ms. Werther said. Almost half of that generation worry they will outlive their money.
Certified financial planner Dave Bell will lead students through a do-it-yourself exercise designed to analyze their personal finances and answer whether they’ll be able to enjoy retirement.
“At the end of the six sessions, you’ll know enough to do your own financial planning,” he said.
Geriatric care manager Kay Paggi will coach boomers on how to juggle their jobs with their caregiving. One in six workers cares for an older relative. Stressed out, one in five caregivers quits working or looks for a less-demanding job.
“Parents often live out of state, so the caregiving may turn out to be long distance,” she said. “We’ll sort through the logistics.”
The Boomer Reboot courses start Jan. 22 and cost from $12 to $40. The yearlong certification programs run about $3,000.
About 1,400 of Richland’s 15,000 students are between 40 and 60, and college officials say they hope that number will increase as the school offers more boomer-oriented courses and steps up its marketing.