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.
Texas State Representative Linda Koop and her district director, Caitlin Dempsey, recently visited Richland College and toured the Technology, Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing (TEAM) Center on campus. Rep. Koop and Dempsey also met with Rose Galloway, Richland College associate vice president of workforce training and continuing education, to discuss workforce training, career/technical programs and continuing education programs at Richland College.
“Linda Koop and Caitlin Dempsey were very impressed and energized by the workforce-relevant programs and equipment at Richland College,” said Galloway. “They both committed to continued support and communication about Richland College to others while they are out in the community.”
Galloway frequently tours local businesses with faculty and administrators from Richland College’s School of Engineering and Technology, along with a national credentialing expert to ensure the TEAM Center remains a state-of-the-industry facility. These tours are done to ensure the manufacturing lab on campus continues to produce graduates who can enter the workforce and make an immediate contribution.
“We did industry tours and noticed that many of the local manufacturing companies have the exact same equipment that we have in the lab,” said Galloway. “Our students are training on pieces of equipment that they will actually work with after graduation.”
Recently, Galloway, manufacturing faculty member Brian Fleming and Melanie Stover, former director of strategic initiatives for the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS), conducted tours with Curtis Riley, general manager of True Cut EDM, Inc. in Garland, and Mark Muynnerlyn, vice president of Turnamatic Machine, Inc. in Richardson.
“During the tours, we talked about starting salaries, job potential, challenges in the industry, the workforce, equipment, ideas and more,” said Galloway. “It was a chance to stay in contact with the industry to make sure Richland College is producing a quality workforce.”
Many of the machines seen during the industry tours are currently available in Richland College’s TEAM Center, a multi-million dollar center with leading edge, industry-quality technology that allows engineering and manufacturing students to have contemporary, hands-on learning experiences and career-focused training. The TEAM Center helps students become better prepared for jobs in engineering, electrical engineering technology, electronics technology and advanced manufacturing.
For more information about the TEAM Center, visit richlandcollege.edu/et.
Richland College will host an open house at 3 p.m. Apr. 21 to celebrate the grand opening of its new Technology, Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing (TEAM) Center, located in Wichita Hall.
With leading-edge, industry-quality technology, the TEAM Center at Richland College offers students hands-on learning experiences and delivers career-focused training leading to high-demand jobs in engineering, electrical engineering technology, electronics and advanced manufacturing.
The TEAM Center was made possible in part by a Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. This $3.25 million grant equipped Richland College with the tools to train Texans who require new, up-to-date job skills for immediate employment. Additional funding for the TEAM Center was provided by Texas Instruments and Dallas County Community College District and Richland College funds.
“With TAACCCT funds, Richland College is strategically positioned to bridge critical gaps of two kinds: one between the workforce and specialized employment training, and the other between that workforce and local employer needs,” said Kathryn K. Eggleston, Ph.D., Richland College president.
President Eggleston and Joe D. May, Ed.D., Dallas County Community College District chancellor will preside at the open house and ribbon cutting. Attendees will have the chance to visit the advanced manufacturing lab, robotics lab and electronics labs, where the new equipment and student instructional demonstrations will be on display.
The advanced manufacturing program prepares students for entry-level manufacturing positions through an associate degree plan, certificate plan or two skills achievement awards. The electronics technology program prepares students for technician-level employment in electronics and related industries through an associate degree plan or a certificate plan.
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
The primary objective of students attending college is to receive an education that will prepare them for whatever career choices they aspire to have.
Thanks to the education they are receiving from the Interactive Simulation and Game Technology (ISGT) program at Richland College, Don Massey and Clint Werth are already accomplishing that as they both currently work full time at iStation in Richardson, Texas.
iStation, where Massey and Werth were interns before becoming full-time employees while still in college, is a revolutionary Internet-based, gaming-like education network and integrated reading and intervention program. Founded in 1998, iStation individualizes instruction for each student, recommends individual and small group instruction and provides reports, which enable educators to meet state and federal reporting and accountability requirements.
At iStation, Massey and Werth have been helpful in building the companyâ€™s online training programs, mini movies/tutorials and Web-based training modules for teachers and administrators. Additionally, they produce games for iStationâ€™s earth science, life science, physical science and advanced reading programs.
“These ‘games’ are being used in all levels of education for instructing and assessing students in many different subject areas,” Jeremy Roden, ISGT program director and professor at Richland College, said. “Don and Clint are using what they learned in our program at Richland to help develop and improve learning technologies.”
In addition, public and private schools across the country are beginning to completely understand how research backed ‘serious gaming’ will help improve educational toolsets. The faculty and administration at Richland College are very proud to see Don and Clint help evolve learning strategies in today’s digital classroom.
Gaming program preparing Richland College students for jobs
Richland College’s Gaming educational track focuses on applying interactive simulation technology to develop educational software for schools, like iStation, and businesses, where digital games and simulations can be used to make learning engaging, interactive and self-directed.
Also, the educational game design specialization is applicable for:
- Game designers and programmers creating educational games or instructional software;
- Teachers interested in innovative learning technologies for the classroom and as ongoing professional development;
- Educational personnel wanting to learn more about using digital games and animation technology as learning tools; and
- Marketing professionals wanting to create promotional learning materials for a company’s products or services.
“Having that broad spectrum of everything, from photo manipulation to video editing, has really helped out,” Massey said about the ISGT program. “When I came here [iStation], whenever they have a problem that needs to be fixed, I say, ‘hey I know how to do that.’ ”
And since their arrival at iStation, the company’s upper management has had nothing but positive things to say about them and the education they are receiving from Richland College.
“They are kicking in real work that is being directly used in what is going out with our professional products. They are making a large contribution,” Marc Gilpin, Art Director and Authoring Manager at iStation, said. “Within the first two weeks of Clint coming to the company, he helped me dramatically. I was impressed with Clint immediately. The education he got at Richland helped him do that.”
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.
The Richland Collegiate High School of Mathematics, Science and Engineering (RCHS) at Richland College recently received the “Tech Titan of the Future” Award at the Metroplex Technology Business Council (MTBC) Gala Fri., Sept. 26. The award recognizes higher education institutions that foster and support students to choose careers in engineering and tech-related fields. MTBC, the largest technology trade association in Texas, presented the award to RCHS because of its innovative approach to “closing gaps in the K-16 Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) student pipeline into our region’s engineering technology-related workforce.”
“Three years ago Richland College (RLC) worked with area chambers of commerce, business leaders, public and private schools, home schools, universities, civic leaders, and organizations like MTBC assessing area workforce needs in the engineering and technology fields,” explains Dr. Stephen Mittelstet, RLC president and RCHS superintendent. “In response, RLC applied for and received the first and, to date, the only charter school in Texas held by a community college. RCHS has exceeded our highest expectations and we are thrilled and honored that MTBC has recognized this innovative approach with the 2008 Tech Titan of the Future Award.”
Along with a trophy, RCHS will receive more than $20,000 in scholarships to help those RCHS graduates who haven’t completed their engineering course sequence when they receive their RCHS diploma. Once they graduate from RCHS, their enrollment at Richland College will no longer be tuition-free. Scholarships will also be available to other RLC engineering students.
“Receiving the Tech Titan Award was a thrill for me and the RCHS staff,” says RCHS principal Dr. Kristyn Edney. “There were several quality universities with outstanding programs that were up against us. The award is a true testament to the innovative spirit of both Richland faculty and administration and the incredible accomplishments of the students who choose to attend RCHS.”
Other 2008 finalists included the Institute for Innovations and Entrepreneurship (UTD), the George A. Jeffrey NanoExplorers (NanoTech Institute at UTD) and The Guildhall (SMU). Previous college and university finalists of the Tech Titan of the Future Award include UTD, UNT, UTA, UT Southwestern, SMU, Collin College, and the DCCCD LeCroy Center for Educational Technology. RLC’s articulated engineering associate degree program won the award in 2005, the first year MTBC offered the university-level recognition.
RCHS was created in 2005 as a unique dual-credit charter high school designed to provide a “rigorous academic experience” for up to 200 high school juniors and 200 seniors, housed on the Richland College campus. Students can complete their last two years of high school at Richland by taking college courses and earning college credits with a focus on mathematics, science, and engineering. In the first graduating class last spring, all but seven of the 129 RCHS seniors received their high school diploma and college associate degree simultaneously.
These students transferred this fall as juniors to various in-state and out-of-state colleges and universities, both public and private, with more than $2.5 million in scholarships. RCHS also boasts an “Exemplary” rating from the Texas Education Agency in 2007 and 2008, the only charter high school in Texas to achieve this highest rating for both years.
For more information, contact Anitra Cotton at 972-238-6022 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional details can be found at www.richlandcollege.edu/rchs.