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Clear Lake Chatter: Assistance League Passes Out Awards

August 1st, 2018

Assistance League officers for 2018 line up for their installation at the luncheon at South Shore Harbour Country Club. They are, from left, Assisteens Coordinator Valerie Piercy, Treasurer Sandra Kelver, President Sarah Foulds and Secretary Betty Stoub. President-elect Lisa Holbrook was unable to attend.

ASSISTANCE LEAGUE members gathered at South Shore Harbour Country Club this year for their annual meeting, which includes the installation of officers and presentation of awards to their hard-working members.

And, after many long hours of service to the Bay Area community, outgoing President Ann Marie Doolin installed new President Sarah Foulds and the other new officers who will lead the organization as it celebrates its 30th anniversary.

Other new officers include President-elect Lisa Holbrook, Treasurer Sandra Kelver, Secretary Betty Stoub, Vice Presidents Karen Douglas, Brooks Cima, Kim Barker and Cathy Wolfe, Marketing Chairman Sharon Klumb, Strategic Planning Chairman Marie Keener, Education Chairman Mavis Irvan and Assisteens Coordinator Valerie Piercy.

The year-end luncheon is also a time to honor some of the hardest working members. Winner of the Sue Brady Award was Kathleen Courville with Marie Keener presented the Sue Holstein Award and Yvonne Perrin, Mary Pergande and Betty Suagee winners of the ABCD Award.

Merrill Crawford was named recipient of the H.O.P.E. Award, the Paul Mitchell Academy won the Glass Slipper Award and Sandra Sellers received the Ada Edwards Laughlin Award.

New Clear Lake Panhellenic officers line up for a photo at their year-end luncheon at the Bay Area Museum. They are, from right, President D’Lisa Johnston, 1st Vice President Cheryl Williams, 2nd Vice President Kathryn Vernau, 3rd Vice President Greta Mae, Secretary Darla McKitrick, Treasurer Kim Barker, Corporation Karen Douglass and Parliamentarian Michelle Richardson. Photo by Jill Reason

C.L.Panhellenic gets new officers
D’LISA JOHNSTON is the new president of Clear Lake Area Panhellenic, which held its year-end luncheon at Bay Area Museum in Clear Lake Park.
Others elected to serve with her include First Vice President Cheryl Williams, Second Vice President Kathryn Vernau, Third Vice President Greta Mae, Secretary Darla McKitrick, Treasurer Kim Barker, Corporation Karen Douglass and Parliamentarian Michelle Richardson.

Also, Sally Jordan was honored with the Citation Award.

But the announcement of the scholarship winners got the biggest smiles from the recipients. Jacy Murdock, Karissa Murdock, Madeleine Pomes and Amie Le were the lucky winners of $8,000 college scholarships.

Bay Area Museum Guild officers get together for a photo after being installed at their May luncheon at the home of Carole Murphy. They are, from left, standing, Co-President Carole Murphy, First Vice Presidents Louise Russell and Gail Devens, Recording Secretary Lois Costin and Corresponding Secretary Sally Jordan; seated, Parliamentarian Kandy Johnson and Co-President Ava Galt. Brandie Corrao and Diana Dornak were unable to attend.

Museum Guild installs officers
BAY AREA Museum Guild members who re-elected Co-Presidents Ava Galt and Carole Murphy to serve another term gathered for their installation at the Guild’s May luncheon at Carole’s lovely Brook Forest home.

Elected to serve with her are First Vice Presidents Gail Devins and Louise Russell; Second Vice President Brandie Corrao, Recording Secretary Lois Costin, Corresponding Secretary Sally Jordan, Treasurer Diana Dornak and Parliamentarian Kandy Johnson,
Others in the luncheon crowd you might have spotted included Cindy Kuenneke, Sandi Allbritton, Barb Spencer, Nina McGlashan, Jan Larson, Donnie Johnson, Angie Weinman, Pat Biddle, Elizabeth Quigley, Terri Monnett and Peggy Clause.

 

EDUCATION is growing all around the Bay Area, Clear Lake Area Chamber members learned at their June luncheon. More students and more buildings.

Speakers were Dr. Greg Smith, superintendent of the Clear Creek School District, Dr. Laurel Williamson, deputy chancellor and president of San Jacinto College; and Dr. Mark Shermis, UHCL dean of education – each of whom have new buildings going up.

Clear Creek ISD, Dr. Smith said, is currently rebuilding League City Elementary and completing construction of a new school, Florence Campbell Elementary, also in League City, with money from the $487 million bond passed in 2017. Work on both should be completed next year. And, while building, they are working to improve school safety.

“The climate in our schools is strong and healthy. Our focus today is on teaching kids how to have kind hearts, not just smart minds. It is simply not enough to teach and assess…We must model and teach a set of core values of caring, respect, trustworthiness and citizenship.”

That’s the good news. But he also had some not-so-good news: Along with thousands of families in recovery mode, the school district is still feeling the effects of Harvey, “with more than $19 million in damages to our facilities, and we have not received reimbursements yet on those damages.With little or no funding. . .from the Legislature, we are facing a significant budget deficit for the 2018-19 school year” and are hopeful the district can negotiate a tax swap with the school board to keep operating at optimal level.

 

New SJC Buildings
Over at San Jacinto College, which was recently named a Top Five Community College nationally by the Aspen Institute for Community College Excellence, three new buildings are going up and some nine older buildings are being renovated with money from its recent $425 million bond package, Dr. Williamson told the chamber crowd at the Nassau Bay Hilton.

The Center for Industrial Technology, which focuses on welding, pipefitting, diesel, electrical technology, plus heating, air conditioning and refrigeration, opened on the North Campus in March 2017, she said, while the Center for Petrochemical, Energy and Technology on the Central Campus and the Center for Engineering and Technology on the South Campus are both expected to open next spring.

And, for many local industries that have jobs to fill and the 42,000 students San Jac serves annually, the sooner, the better.

 

New UHCL facilities
Dr. Shermis also had some good news for the crowd. The UHCL College of Education dean said the new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Classroom Building was opening this fall and the university is working with Clear Creek ISD on STEM classes at both the university and the school district.

The 121,575-square-foot building, being built at a cost of $65.7 million is one of two under construction on the Clear Lake campus.

UHCL also is building a new $38.2 million Recreation and Wellness Center that will serve as the home for the Exercise and Health Sciences program and Fitness and Human Performance program, as well as a host of general instruction classrooms and recreational activities for students, faculty and staff.

A new $24 million Health Sciences and Classroom Building is also expected to open in the spring on UHCL’s Pearland campus, Dr. Shermis said.
Chamber Chairman Bryan Bogle welcomed the crowd and introduced special guests and Dr. Peter Wuenschel, chamber Education Division chairman, provided the invocation.

Amanda Fenwick named winner of Athena Award

June 4th, 2018

Athena Award recipient Amanda Fenwick proudly shows off the award after the luncheon at Lakewood Yacht Club. With her are, from left, League City Chamber President Steve Paterson, keynote speaker Doreen Hughes and Chamber Chairman Rebecca Lilley.

By Mary Alys Cherry

Amanda Fenwick, San Jacinto College vice president and mayor pro tem of Clear Lake Shores is the recipient of the 2018 Athena Award, presented annually by the League City Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“I was so shocked when my name was called as the Athena Bay Area recipient,” she said afterwards. “To be among that group of nominees was truly an honor.”

She was honored for her professional excellence, community service and for working to improve the quality of life for others in the community. The presentation came during a luncheon at Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook.

Amanda who serves as vice president of marketing and public relations at San Jacinto College, has 15 years of experience in leadership and public relations and currently oversees a staff of 12.

That includes a public relations and event team, a digital and website team, and a design team responsible for the advertising, marketing, communications, media and public relations, social media, website content, publications, events, and crisis communications for the entire San Jacinto College district, which includes 45,000 credit and 10,000 continuing education students each year, and 2,500 employees.

Prior to joining San Jac in 2007, she was an event coordinator in the Houston mayor’s Office of Special Events, planning parades, special events and a variety of celebrations.

She began her career in public relations at Rice University as an assistant sports information director. As such, she was responsible for the daily public and media relations for several Owls teams, including women’s basketball, men’s and women’s tennis and women’s volleyball.

In addition to her role at the college, she serves on the Clear Lake Shores City Council. She was first elected to office in 2012, and is currently in her fourth term, serving as mayor pro-tem.

Amanda holds a B.S. in Kinesiology from Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., and a Master of Education in Physical Education from the University of Houston. She and her husband, Jay, have lived in Clear Lake Shores for more than 17 years, and they have a 5-year-old daughter, Peyton.

Others nominated for the award were Trisha Barita, Barita & Keough Law Firm; Deborah Bly, Re/Max Space Center, The Bly Team; Penny Brockway, Brockway Realty; Kirsten Cavaness, Green Window Group, LLC; Kathy Cruse, Texas First Bank; Wendy Ghormley, Texas First Bank; Janice Hallisey, League City Proud; Kristi Koncaba, Texan Bank; Ashlea Quinonez, Memorial Hermann Health System; Jill Reason, Bay Area Houston Ballet & Theatre; Jenny Senter, Texas City – La Marque Chamber of Commerce; Amy Smith, Dickinson ISD; and Peggy
Zahler, PZ Consulting.

The Athena Program, named for Athena, the goddess of wisdom, honors females in leadership roles that make them effective, admirable and successful leaders and who have also contributed to the development and empowerment of women. These individuals have strong values that emulate the eight principles of Athena: Live authentically, learn constantly, advocate fiercely, act courageously, foster collaboration, build relationships, give back and celebrate.

Athena leaders are fierce advocates for what they believe and committed to enriching their communities.

Ike Dike at the top of Mayor Turner’s to do list

August 1st, 2017

There was no shortage of folks on hand to greet Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner when he arrived at Bay Oaks Country Club in Clear Lake for the Clear Lake Chamber Government Affairs Committee meeting. With him are, from left, League City Mayor Pat Hallisey, Chamber President Cindy DeWease, Kemah Mayor Carl Joiner, Miss Texas USA Nancy Gonzalez and State Rep. Dennis Paul.

Jordan McGinty, right, of Councilman Dave Martin’s office, stops to chat with Dawn McDonald of State Rep. Dennis Paul’s office at the Clear Lake Area Chamber Government Affairs Committee meeting.

THE CLEAR LAKE Area Chamber’s Government Affairs Division drew quite a crowd when members held their quarterly meeting at Bay Oaks Country Club.

Little wonder they did. They had Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner as their speaker and invited Miss Texas USA Nancy Gonzalez to introduce the mayor.

Early arrivals included State Rep. Dennis Paul, League City Mayor Pat Hallisey, Kemah Mayor Carl Joiner, who is also the chamber chairman, Houston City Councilman Dave Martin, Chamber President Cindy DeWease and Vice Chairman Brian Freedman.

The mayor discussed a variety of subjects, initially letting the crowd know how lucky this area is to be represented by Councilman Martin and Representative Paul and how he has enjoyed working with them in the past and how he looks forward to working with them in the future.
Especially so on the Coastal Spine – commonly referred to as the Ike Dike – which he said “is at the top of my to do list.”

After praising San Jacinto College for its workforce readiness programs and all it has been doing to put students in jobs and help industry fill jobs, he noted that there are six million jobs in the U.S. that cannot be filled because applicants do not have the proper training.

That led into a hot topic for Clear Lake City, where a woman wants to put a homeless shelter on El Camino Real in the heart of its downtown area and only two blocks from homes. The mayor, who first heard about it from TV, wanted his audience to know that the city had nothing to do with it, that no permits had been obtained and it is not a simple process.

“It is not a city deal,” he said, adding the he did not think shelters were the answer. “The best way to respond to homelessness is to put people in housing, not shelters. Please, please know that is not something that is on the drawing board, and there is no funding for it,” he cautioned.

Turning to the national infrastructure program proposed by President Trump, the mayor thought the Coastal Spine project should be included. Meanwhile he said, he had learned that Washington is toying with ideas on how to pay for all the proposed projects.

Among a number of thoughts he shared with the crowd, he said he thinks we need a theme park that is uniquely us — a fun and amusing park but unique to our region.

Splashdown Party draws happy crowd

Dr. Mike Romanko and his wife, Mitzi, give the peace sign so popular in the 60s at the Lunar Rendezvous Splashdown Party.

BACK IN THE SIXTIES, a coveted invitation got one into a Splashdown Party when friends and neighbors welcomed astronauts back from journeys into space.

Fifty years later, the tradition goes on. Except this time it was, well, a little different. Co-Chairmen Kristy Tankersley, Renee Ditta and Linda DeMasie wanted this Lunar Rendezvous Splashdown Party to be a night of fun – a night to remember. And, that it was. It also kicked off the Festival’s string of July activities, which include a 5K fun run and walk, fashion show, religious service and the Coronation Ball.

Festival Chairman Dinah Matthews, right, and Vice Chairman Tisa Foster prepare to greet guests.

Most dressed in 60s attire and flashed peace signs as they danced to the music of Phil Pampolina with the co-chairmen and their husbands – Jon Tankersley, Judge Louie Ditta and Michael DeMasie — leading the way as Mercedes-Benz dealer Jerry Foyt and his wife, Kate, hosted the event at the dealership in League City.

Both Festival Chairman Dinah Matthews and Vice Chairman Tisa Foster were there to welcome Michael and Ann Wismer Landolt, Tom and Gloria Wong, Ann and Dr. Jim O’Malley, Ron and Pat Biddle Karl, Angie and Matthew Weinman, Gene Hollier, Phil and Ginger Pampolina, Alice and Lou Marinos, Mary Ann Shallberg and Mitzi and Dr. Mike Romanko, to name a few.

Special guests were Ch. 13 ABC News Anchor Tom Koch and his wife, Brenda.

Great way to kick off the string of festival events.

Clear Lake Area Chamber gets update on education

August 1st, 2017

Dr. Greg Smith, Clear Creek ISD superintendent, San Jacinto College Vice Chancellor Teri Crawford and UH-Clear Lake President Dr. Bill Staples, from left, presented an update on education when they addressed the Clear Lake Area Chamber luncheon at Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook.

By Mary Alys Cherry

We try not to brag but how many communities have education facilities on a level of those in the Clear Lake Chamber’s membership area?

Not many, we all know, and each year when education officials update the chamber membership, the news just gets better and better.

UH-Clear Lake President Dr. Bill Staples, San Jacinto College Vice Chancellor Teri Crawford and Clear Creek ISD Superintendent Dr. Greg Smith were back for the second year in a row with some of the year’s highlights and what’s ahead at the chamber luncheon at Lakewood Yacht Club.

As he nears retirement, Dr. Staples reported that UHCL’s two new buildings on the Clear Lake campus will open in Fall 2018 with the new classroom building on the Pearland campus to open in Spring 2019, going on to praise Dr. Smith and San Jac President Dr. Brenda Hellyer. “You should be proud to have them heading their respective institutions,” he said.

And, as UHCL thrives as a four-year university and he completes his final year there, he said he got quite a thrill to see the students who initially started the bilingual classes years ago at McWhirter Elementary School – a UHCL/CCISD joint venture — graduate this past June.

He also took time to remind the community that “we must address the number of economically disadvantaged students. In 1995, 11 percent of the students were economically disadvantaged. Today that total is 27 percent.”

Teri Crawford proudly told the crowd that San Jac had recently been awarded a $100,000 prize as it was recognized as a Top Five Community College in the Nation and was a finalist for the third time for the coveted Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence for “achieving strong student success outcomes in learning, marketing and equity.”

This year, San Jac has 30,741 students enrolled – 6,598 full time and 22,400 part time – and awarded 4,139 degrees and 2,881 certificates.

And, UHCL is not the only one undergoing new construction. Seven new buildings are underway at San Jac, she said, including a Engineering and Technology Center, a Cosmetology Center and expansion of the Fire House on the South Campus and a classroom building, Welcome Center and Center for Petrochemical, Energy and Technology on the Central Campus with the North Campus getting a Cosmetology and Culinary Center.

Dr. Smith opened his comments by praising Dr. Staples for all his work and noting that he was instrumental in launching and Dual Language Immersion Program at McWhirter Elementary and how proud all were as the first bilingual class graduated. “The program continues to thrive and has expanded to four other schools.”

After noting that a record number of seniors had graduated this past June, and reporting on remodeling work at both Clear Lake and Clear Creek High Schools, he went on to tell of several students who had overcome incredible problems to become a success. “We work to instill a set of core values in our students. To be respectful, trustworthy and understand what it means to roll up your sleeves and give back.”

In his closing remarks, he had some very good news for taxpayers: Instead of a 4.5 cent tax increase for the year because of the recently passed school bond, “due to property value growth, it looks like we will not need to increase the tax rate for the year.”
That brought smiles all around the ballroom.

Schools open doors to variety of careers for today’s students

April 1st, 2017

On the road to a career in Pharmacy.

By Mary Alys Cherry

Little do today’s high school students realize just how lucky they are as they begin planning their future.

Whereas their parents and grandparents had to work a number of jobs before they stumbled on to their dream – and many never did — today’s students can begin sampling various fields while just a high school freshman.

Clear Creek ISD, for example, offers students 14 different pathways, with each combining academic courses with career-related classes – helping students understand the relationship between education and careers so they can make informed decisions on what courses they need to learn its various aspects, what type of work they can expect and what education is necessary.

Its Career and Technical Education program reinforces state and national academic standards by providing students training in career areas of interest to them.

They can take a look at being a chef, an electrician, a dentist or dental assistant, automobile technician, actor, graphic designer, interior decorator, computer programmer, nurse, an air conditioning technician, cosmotologist or architect and more, and then follow their dream at one of the nearby colleges such as San Jacinto College, College of the Mainland, Alvin Community College or at the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

Some of the other subjects are veterinary medical applications, communications, livestock production, food technology, wildlife fisheries and ecology management, audio/video production, animation, construction technology, civil engineering and video game design.

Learning about Broadcasting.

In fact, Clear Creek ISD is building a career technology wing at Clear Creek High School which will provide students with an opportunity to explore careers such as the dentistry profession and prepare them to become registered dental assistants.

It’s almost mind boggling how many career paths are available for today’s students, who can even graduate from high school and earn a college associate degree at the same time through the Early College High School at both CCISD and Pasadena ISD.

Think about that. Students can earn a high school diploma and complete two years of college while in high school, saving two years of college costs for their parents – thousands of dollars.

However, many students do not want a four-year degree. They may want to be an auto mechanic, a truck driver or hair dresser and hope to find one with a minimum of training.

Years ago if a young man wanted to be an electrician, a mechanic or air conditioning technician, he had to find someone who would take him in and see him through several years of training before he could be certified. Today he can learn most of the essentials in a community college classroom before becoming a trainee.

In addition to the multitude of programs leading to degrees colleges have offered for generations such as education, engineering, history, math, journalism, business, physics, accounting and languages, local community colleges offer a variety of additional associate degree programs that can put the student on a path to success. Some can be completed in less time than degree programs.

And, employers are pleased as they want employees with the right education and certifications as these employees will most likely have the proper training and safety knowledge, are open to change and have up-to-date credentials.

San Jacinto College, for example, offers certificate programs in paralegal, welding, maritime technology, auto repair, interior design, process technology, culinary arts, environmental safety technology, cosmetology, medical billing, multimedia computer animation, eye care technology, criminal justice, diesel technology and many more. Some are longer than others.

A student in a course on trucking, for example, spends two hours of his daily classroom study learning federal laws, securing loads, etc., and the rest of the day driving different vehicles in varying road conditions. That can be completed in six weeks with entry-level drivers earning $35,000 to $45,000 the first year.

College of the Mainland also helps prepare students with courses in photography, air conditioning technology, nursing, mechanical maintenance technology, art, welding, electrician helper, process technology, construction, project management and design, to name a few of the hands-on ways the school is helping bring the students and the job market together.

Alvin Community College also offers a wide variety of courses, along with a number for the student who is not interested in a four-year degree, including culinary arts management, helicopter pilot training, nursing assistant, pipefitting, machinist, computer training, radio/TV, crime scene technician, real estate (online), pharmacy technology, court reporting, veterinary assistant, emergency medical technology, electronic diagnostics and criminal justice.

San Jac Vice Chancellor Allatia Harris said area businesses are proponents of short-term workforce programs as they need employees immediately and those who can contribute on their first day on the job.

“The construction sector and the health care industry need workers right now,” she added.

Expanding Horizons

February 1st, 2016

Photo: San Jacinto College

Photo: San Jacinto College

San Jacinto College’s new maritime training center boosts emerging program

By Rod Evans

Teaching someone how to moor a tanker or guide a tug boat through a narrow space between two hulking barges is considerably more difficult when the instruction is being done on dry land and the closest body of water is the hotel swimming pool across the street.

But for students enrolled in San Jacinto College’s Maritime Education program, the heavily traveled waters of the Houston Ship Channel serve as both laboratory and classroom after the opening of the new Maritime Technology and Training Center in La Porte. The $18 million, 45,000-square-foot facility, which officially opened on Jan. 4 of this year, is located practically on the docks and represents a remarkable upgrade over the previous building, which was basically a converted warehouse.

“There is lots of excitement because the building is brand new and because of its location,” said Amy Arrowood, a maritime instructor at San Jacinto College. “It’s right on the turning basin, so we can be talking about a specific topic and it could be happening right outside our windows.”

The building houses three ship simulators, an engineering room, a swimming pool and nearly triple the classroom space as the old building. Arrowood said the college was limited in both the number of classes it could offer and the number of students in each class due to the cramped quarters of the previous facility, which had a total of five classrooms. With 17 classrooms now, officials hope to increase class offerings, which could result in a spike in enrollment.

“We wanted to hold additional classes and the industry needed additional classes, but we couldn’t hold them from a logistical standpoint because we just didn’t have the classroom space. Now we’ve got more classrooms and a variety of those rooms, too. For example, before we had five radar simulators and could teach up to 10 people in the room. Now, we have two (radar) rooms of 24 (students) each,” Arrowood said.

Tellepsen Builders served as the general contractor on the project, while Texas IBI Group was the architect. Brooks & Sparks was the civil engineer and Rizzo & Associates filled the program manager role.

According to Port of Houston Authority figures, the 25-mile Port of Houston generates $178.5 billion in statewide economic impact and another $4.5 billion in state and local tax revenues each year. The complex also creates over one million ship channel related jobs statewide, and the demand for skilled and educated workers shows no signs of abating. San Jacinto College, through its maritime program, is helping industries doing business along the ship channel find the qualified employees they need to meet the demands of the 21st century. Launched in the fall semester of 2012, the program offers continuing education courses and an associate degree in maritime transportation that combines United States Coast Guard and Standards for Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW)-approved training with the college level academics required of an associate degree.

“All of our classes on the continuing education side are Coast Guard-approved classes that exist because they are required by the Coast Guard for mariners in order to maintain or upgrade their licenses and certification,” Arrowood said. “Right now, we don’t offer every Coast Guard approved course, but our goal is to increase from 35 (courses) to closer to 90 to 100.”

Courses offered run the gamut from Able Bodied Seaman to Radar Observer to Basic Fire Fighting to Leadership and Managerial Skills. Arrowood says the program includes continuing education and professional development courses for current maritime employees looking to advance their careers or earn required certifications, in addition to the two-year associates program. She says the new facility will allow administrators to offer more flexible course schedules for maritime employees who work non-traditional schedules.

“We can now hold classes more frequently. A lot of mariners work four weeks on, four weeks off, so if we’re running a class every four weeks, some mariners could never catch certain classes. The new building allows us to increase the availability of classes, so we should see our enrollment numbers increase,” Arrowood said.

Arrowood said the continuing education program has issued over 3,500 certifications since its inception and there are currently 42 students enrolled in the associates degree program and officials are hoping to see huge gains in both numbers as early as this fall thanks to the increased classroom capacity offered by the new facility. The program’s staff is comprised of Coast Guard-approved ship masters, chief engineers, former U.S. Navy and Merchant Marine officers, as well as skilled technicians, who will be able to impart their wisdom in a center that has no equal in the region.

“The gulf coast was missing a one-stop shop for all maritime training. You could get radar training at a certain place or a different class here or there, but there wasn’t one place you could go for all of your maritime training,” Arrowood said. “We will offer that eventually once we get all of the Coast Guard courses here. We will be that one-stop shop, whether it’s for a tow boat captain, tankerman or cruise ship captain; we will be offering classes for the inland industry, the near coastal industry and the large, blue water industry.”

Arrowood said local industry leaders have been demanding more skilled maritime workers for years now, and the new facility should help position San Jac to help meet the demand that’s been fueled by increases in imports and exports and the rapid growth in the production of plastics by manufacturers along the ship channel.

“We work closely with our advisory committee on what we can do in our program and classes in order to turn out the best mariners. We couldn’t do what we do without them,” Arrowood said.

She says in addition to providing a launching point for young students hoping to land entry level positions in the maritime industry, administrators are hopeful the expanded facility will be a boon to workers looking to enhance their ability to move up to higher paying, more rewarding positions through the continuing education program. By offering open enrollment, workers eyeing a change in their career path will be afforded fast-track curriculum options, while contract training programs are also offered that are designed in partnership with companies to address specific needs to keep workers competitive in their respective field. For more information on the maritime program at San Jacinto College, visit Sanjac.edu.

San Jacinto College celebrates success at community luncheon

December 1st, 2014

San Jacinto College Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer, center, and Vice Chancellor Teri Crawford thank Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership’s Dan Seal for his help with the State of the College Program, presented to the community at San Jac South.

San Jacinto College Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer, center, and Vice Chancellor Teri Crawford thank Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership’s Dan Seal for his help with the State of the College Program, presented to the community at San Jac South.

By Mary Alys Cherry

San Jacinto College is growing faster than we might realize, Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer told a crowd of community leaders invited to the State of the College Luncheon. In fact, the number of degrees awarded has almost doubled since 2006 – from 2,682 that year to 5,012 this past year.

And,4,968 of those students transfer to four-year institutions.

“We’re not only the most affordable school in town, we work to keep taxes affordable also,” she said of the college that was created in 1960 in Pasadena and is now the seventh largest college in Texas and the third largest in Houston.

In-district students pay only $47 per credit hour plus a $140 general service fee or $704 per semester – not including books and some other small fees. Out-of-district students pay $89 per hour or $1,208 per semester, plus the $140 general fee with out-of-state students paying more than twice as much as in-district students.

Breaking down the fall enrollment total of 28,020, she supplied quick facts sheets showing the Central Campus is the largest with 13,612 students. The South Campus has 10,921 students while 7,585 attend the North Campus. Almost 21,000 students attend part time while 7,112 are full time.

The chancellor said the average age is 23, and 77 percent of San Jac students are the first in their families to attend college. “We take everyone,” she said, going on to explain that “If our students don’t succeed, then we don’t succeed” – which also means helping many students get over their fear of math.

12-1 Port Commissioner

Port Commissioner John Kennedy, from left, talks with Economic Alliance President Chad Burke and Pearland Mayor Tom Reid as they await the start of San Jacinto College’s State of the College Luncheon at the South Campus.

“This (the luncheon) is really a celebration of all we’ve done to focus on student success,” she said, adding that San Jacinto College is the hub of industries that drive the Bay Area Houston economy, such as NASA and the Port of Houston. Besides partnerships with Boeing, Lockheed Martin, the Johnson Space Center and Space Center Houston, the college offers the only degree program in Texas in mariner technology.

The college currently owns waterfront property in the Port of Houston’s Bayport Terminal, where the college’s new Maritime Complex will be built. Many outside maritime industry partners are being consulted to make certain the college builds the very best facility possible.

The luncheon was sponsored by Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership and the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region.

In welcoming the crowd, Economic Alliance President Chad Burke said, “We’re really blessed to have a college like San Jacinto College in our region.”

BAHEP Executive Director of Special Initiatives Dan Seal stressed the importance of a smart, well educated work force as he introduced Hellyer. “Special thanks today for San Jacinto College, who for decades now . . . has been so effectively partnering with local industries to deliver education at its finest.”

Course correction

December 1st, 2014

Photo: Jeannie Peng-Armao, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.

Photo: Jeannie Peng-Armao, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.

San Jacinto College program helps workers transition into new careers

By Rod Evans

It’s no secret that the oil and gas industry is a major driver of the Greater Houston Area economy, with thousands of residents employed in the energy sector. But despite the fact that the Houston Ship Channel celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, its impact on the region’s employment landscape is sometimes taken for granted.

According to Port of Houston Authority figures, the 25-mile Port of Houston generates $178.5 billion in statewide economic impact and another $4.5 billion in state and local tax revenues each year. The complex also creates over one million ship channel related jobs statewide, and as the ship channel embarks on its second century, the demand for skilled and educated workers shows no signs of abating. San Jacinto College, through its maritime program, is helping industries doing business along the ship channel find the qualified employees they need to meet the demands of the 21st century.

The school is part of a select group of community colleges across the nation benefiting from funds provided through the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) program. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, in 2009, the American Recovery Reinvestment Act amended the Trade Act of 1974 to authorize funding for TAACCCT. When President Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act in 2010, it provided $2 billion in grants over four years to help re-train workers, including veterans, the unemployed and people who lost their jobs due to changes in foreign trade regulations, for high-wage, high-skill, in-demand jobs in areas such information technology, health care, energy, manufacturing and international trade. Implemented by the U.S. Department of Labor in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education, the program helps community colleges and other eligible institutions of higher learning expand their career training programs that can be completed in two years or less.

“We are training people to re-deploy into the international trade industries through our international business maritime logistics program,” said Margaret Kidd, project director of TAACCCT at San Jacinto College. “We are the only Texas college in the consortium of 12 community colleges in the nation currently participating in the program.”

Kidd says San Jacinto College has included eight certifications related primarily to supply chain operations into its international business curriculum. The program typically consists of 60 hours of course work to be completed over two years. Courses include Principles of Import and Export, International Business and Principles of Supply Chain. Students can take national exams to earn certifications in areas such as transportation operations, warehousing operations and customer service.

“If someone gets a certification in warehousing, for example, just imagine how employable they’ll be,” Kidd says. “It’s a great way to get your foot in the door, and people in many of these jobs can make between $25 and $87 per hour.”

The TAACCCT was created in the wake of the Great Recession of 2008, when millions of American workers lost their jobs as a result of corporate downsizing and changes in international trade regulations. Since then, the program has helped to re-train thousands of workers to transition into new careers in trade related industries. It has also helped employees seeking to move into management positions at their companies attain the skills needed to be considered for higher paying, more rewarding positions.

Cynthia Nash’s story serves as an example of how the program seeks to help long time employees improve their marketability. Nash has worked in a variety of supply chain positions at Halliburton in the Houston area over the past 36 years and is currently enrolled in her first semester at San Jac. Her goal is to advance up the career ladder with the company after she earns her two-year degree.

“I’m working toward obtaining certification in logistics and supply chain management,” Nash said. “In my first semester, we’re going over logistics processes and key terms, many of which I am familiar with, but I don’t know the entire process. This has been very enlightening for me and I’m hoping to move into a management position once I complete the program.”

According to Kidd, who has served as an instructor in supply chain courses at both the University of Houston and Texas Southern University, many of the students enrolling in the program are in their 30s and 40s and were laid off from their previous jobs or are returning to school after spending years working in supply chain industries. Thanks to advances in technology and rapidly changing trade protocols, many of these employees now find that they need additional education in order to advance their careers to the next level.

“Our students work in a number of areas, including freight forwarding, purchasing, trade compliance, customer service, inventory control, packaging and bilingual marketing,” Kidd said. “In the past, a lot of supply chain jobs didn’t require degrees or advanced certifications, but that’s changing because of technology. Many employees have to be more technologically savvy or multi-lingual to work in that environment now.”

Students interested in enrolling in the program should come ready to work, Kidd says, because the courses require a high level of dedication and versatility.

“I would say that the jobs most of our students are training for are not for sissies. Our students are not afraid of getting dirty if they have to go into a warehouse setting or something. In general, they need to be really good students, have high self esteem and be very determined. While most of our students come from the Houston area, we have many students who come from areas such as West Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and China.”

Alexis Odounton, a native of the West African nation of Benin, began studying for his associate’s degree in international business logistics at San Jac in January of this year. He’s on schedule to earn his degree next year and plans to pursue a career in international logistics management, shipping or warehousing. He moved to the U.S. eight years ago to work in business administration for a company in Nebraska, but hopes the move to Texas will jump start his career.

“San Jacinto College was the right place for me because I found what I was looking for,” Odounton said. “When I was in Nebraska, I discovered that business administration wasn’t what I was looking for. Now, I will have the education to help me start working in the field that’s right for me. Plus, San Jacinto doesn’t cost a lot and I can earn my degree in a short period of time.”

For more information on the TAACCCT program at San Jacinto College or courses offered in the school’s maritime program, visit Sanjac.edu/maritime.