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Blinn College awarded major job-training grant

Blinn will train Mid-South Synergy and Dig-Tech/Line-Tech personnel in electrical and water distribution

November 13, 2013

Workforce Solutions Grant

The Texas Workforce Commission awarded Blinn College a $267,648 grant to develop a training program that helps two Central Texas companies meet their demand for highly-skilled workers.

The Skills Development Fund Grant will be used to train 179 employees at Mid-South Synergy and Dig-Tech/Line-Tech, Inc. in areas including water and wastewater operations, distribution line installation and removal, communications, metering and electrical transmission and distribution.

Groundsmen, linemen, foremen, line supervisors, operations technicians and administrative support supervisors will all be trained, and upon completion workers will earn an hourly wage of at least $18.80. All employees will be trained to both recognized industry and Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards.

“This grant will support the continued competitiveness and sustainability of these companies and this region as a whole,” Texas Workforce Commissioner Hope Andrade said. “I strongly believe we must continue to build a talent pipeline throughout Texas because the growth of a skilled workforce is the backbone of our state’s economy.”

From the program’s inception in 1996 through 2012, Skills Development Fund grants have created or upgraded more than 286,000 jobs throughout Texas and assisted 3,901 employers with their customized training needs. The Texas Legislature appropriated $48.5 million to the Skills Development Fund for the 2012-13 biennium.

Established in 1940, Mid-South Synergy is headquartered in Navasota and provides electric, water and wastewater service and internet support to customers in Grimes, Montgomery, Madison, Walker, Brazos and Waller Counties.

“You never lose when you invest in community,” said Mike McDougald, vice president of administration at Mid-South Synergy. “That’s what we believe at Mid-South and that’s what this program has allowed us to do. It has allowed us to not only keep jobs in the local community but build up people and build up the community.”

Headquartered in Bastrop, Dig Tech/Line Tech provides aerial construction crews with the training and experience to solve challenging power installations and restorations. Mike Furry, vice president of Dig-Line/Tech-Line, co-owns the company with his father. Both Furry and his wife Glenda attended Blinn College.

“We’ve had many, many opportunities to expand by adding line crews to co-ops throughout the state, but our biggest limiting factor in that is our ability to hire skilled employees,” Furry said. “With this training program we’ll know first-hand that our employees are learning how to do the job safely.”

Blinn enrolled 18,413 students this Fall and has experienced 31.1 percent growth since 2006. Founded in 1883, the College’s tuition and fees average about one-third the cost of the same classes at most four-year public universities in the state. In addition to its campuses in Brenham, Bryan, Schulenburg and Sealy, the College teaches online courses, dual credit for high school and prepares students for quick employment through its career and technical certification programs. For enrollment information and to learn about financial aid opportunities, visit: www.blinn.edu.

PHOTO – From left: Dr. Harold Nolte, Blinn College District president; Texas State Rep. Lois W. Kolkhorst; Mike Furry, vice president of Dig-Tech/Line-Tech; Dr. Milton Radke, Blinn College grants administrator; TWC Commissioner Hope Andrade; Mike McDougald, vice president of administration for Mid-South Synergy; Tom Wilkinson, executive director of Workforce Solutions Brazos Valley.