By Mary Mone
Photos by Chris Swann
Tyler Junior College is home to five campuses that all work together toward a shared goal: “To provide students with a quality education, a vibrant student life and opportunities for service to the community,” according to tjc.edu.
There are two campuses in Tyler, which are the Main Campus and TJC West. The main campus is well known by TJC faculty and students, but many do not know what TJC West offers to the community.
TJC West has three buildings: the Regional Training and Development Complex, the Skills Training Center, and the Energy Center.
Judie Bower, the interim dean of the school of continuing studies at TJC West, spoke about the unique qualities of the opportunities at the west campus.
The RTDC, which is used by the School of Continuing Studies, is 84,000 square feet, contains a large conference room and has registration and fee collection available.
“Formerly known as the Levi Strauss plant, the RTDC building became a regional facility focused on offering workforce training to the community to increase the number of skilled workers in our area as well as serve as a training location for small businesses,” Bower said.
The Skills Training Center is 75,000 square feet and “is home to the college’s automotive technology and welding technology departments,” according to tjc.edu.
The Energy Center, which opened in 2015, is the last building located at TJC West. It is where the power plant technology, HVAC and electrical and electronic controls technology courses take place.
“Located among three unique buildings, TJC West houses both degree and non-degree programs. Degree programs include topics such as Automotive Technology, Welding, Industrial Trades, Vision Care Technology, Child Development/ Early Childhood, Fire Technology and more,” Bower said. “The non-degree/ continuing education programs include health care training such as Certified Nurse Aide, Phlebotomy, Medical Assistant and Pharmacy Technician, just to name a few,” Bower said.
Not only are there health care and technical degrees that stem from TJC West, but they also provide courses in “computers, foreign languages, law enforcement, business, art, dance and many more that cover a wide spectrum of interests,” Bower said
Not only is there a vast array of opportunities for students, but there are also special opportunities that TJC West offers the community.
“Also housed at TJC West is the Tyler Area Business Incubator that allows start-up companies a place to rent and begin growing their business,” Bower said.
Bower spoke about how the start up small businesses have mentors who help them, “develop their products and advise them on best practices until they are ready to expand into their own facilities.”
Because TJC West is located in a central place in Tyler, Bower said it provides the community a “resource for job specific, trained students who are looking for employment and serves as a regional hub for business and industry.”
To the north, there is a campus in Lindale that opened in 2017. TJC North is located in the Cannery, which is “Lindale’s new entertainment/retail/residential complex,” according to tjc.edu. At this north campus, they offer the vocational nursing program, the veterinary technician program and also some general education courses.
Benjamin Rhodes, operations manager and liaison at TJC North, spoke about the characteristics that make the North campus a good addition to the TJC community.
“First and foremost, access or convenience for those students who live north of I-20,” Rhodes said.
Being north of Tyler, TJC North is closer to towns where commuter students can reach the college easier.
“We’re quite a bit closer to Mineola, Alba-Golden, Yantis and those kinds of communities that are a little higher and further away from Tyler in terms of drive. We shorten that drive,” Rhodes said.
To the south of Tyler in Jacksonville and Rusk, there are two campuses that provide courses and services to students.
The Jacksonville Campus of TJC is stationed on the fourth floor of the East Texas Medical Center. According to tjc.edu, the Jacksonville Campus, “offers a 20-student vocational nurse education program as well as transitional program for registered nurses who wish to qualify as associate degree nursing graduates.”
The Rusk Campus of TJC, which is located on the campus of the Rusk State Hospital, is the newest incorporation of TJC’s expansion efforts around the Tyler area. As written on tjc.edu, the Rusk Campus, “offers a 20-student vocational nurse education program to serve East Texas.”