TJC West Campus is expanding with trade and business focused programs after becoming recognized as the School of Skilled Trades and Continuing Studies in January.
The School of Nursing and Health Sciences; School of Engineering, Mathematics, and Sciences; School of Humanities, Communications, and Fine Arts; School of Professional and Technical Programs; and the School of Trades and Continuing Studies are the family of schools that make up TJC’s campuses. The programs offered at The School of Trades and Continuing Studies are pharmacy technology, certified medical assistant, nursing assistant, automotive technology, welding technology, HVAC, electrical controls and technology, and advanced manufacturing technology, according to TJC West’s website.
Brent Wallace, dean and executive administrator of TJC West said, “We’ve served thousands of students in the recent years. And then we see that there’s a high demand this fall, enrollment is really strong. This is a trend that we’re really excited about, because it’s showing that there’s a number of people post COVID, that are looking for long-term careers and in skilled trades and in industry and we’re here to meet those needs.”
The number of young adults going into technical jobs has dropped by 49% in the last two years from 2020 to 2022, according to a recent article by NPR.org.
Wallace says they are working with local businesses to create efficient job training programs.
“What we have is a number of Continuing Studies programs that allow students to have short burst of classes and training, yes, but that also, we look ahead to them having stackable credentials that can lead into a credit program,” Wallace said. “We’re starting to work more with large scale business partners — Brookshire’s, BraunAbility.”
The Brookshire’s partnership is building the track to eventually offer an industrial refrigeration certificate and industrial refrigeration track for employees and future employees. Not only does The School of Trades and Continuing Studies offer many programs to students, but it has become a training center for businesses to help meet employee training needs. Wallace said they work with the municipalities to provide jailer training and first responders training.
“We’re working with this city, actually with Smith County, to do jailer training inside of our law enforcement continuing education program,” Wallace said. “We have programs like truck
driving here, certified nursing assistant, certified medical assistant, we have pharmacy tech programs, that to name a few.”
Adam Palacios, director of business and industry partnerships, skilled trades, and continuing studies, shares two developing programs, the importance of the school’s independence, and the flourishing opportunities their campus provides.
“I’m developing an ammonia technician program. So we are presenting for the curriculum instruction this fall, and then we’ll have it in the fall of 2024. So, we have that program developing,” Palacios said.
They are looking into a forklift warehouse operations program,
along with the Brookshire’s program.
Palacios spoke about how businesses reach out to them for training for employees, and opportunities in their non-accredited programs and teaching. He explains that businesses tour the campus weekly, looking to recruit, and the efficiency that he is able to provide through collaboration within the campus.
“We are the probably the most community facing school, at that we give tours, probably at least once a week to businesses,” Palacios said.
Palacios said employers come to them looking to fulfill staffing needs.
“One of the first questions they ask is, do you have the workforce to meet my needs? Do you have the capabilities to ultimately provide the workforce. We are that industrial manufacturing hub, or we’re also the continuing studies, which are non-credit courses,” Palacios said. “So if they want customized courses that match exactly what they’re doing, we’re able to do that.”
He said that TJC West can work with local businesses to create custom programs in a fraction of the time it would take at a four-year accredited program.
“We move at the speed of business,” Palacios said.
For more information about the programs and certifications at The School of Trades and Continuing Studies, visit TJC.edu.