May 30, 2014
Seven seniors from Bryan ISD’s Mary Catherine Harris School received their machinist certificates Wednesday night as part of a unique partnership between Blinn College, Bryan ISD and Workforce Solutions Brazos Valley.
To earn their certificate, the students were bussed to Blinn College’s A.W. Hodde, Jr. Technical Education Center in Brenham two days a week for 10 weeks. Jonathan Baez, Justin Olexey, Jose Rios, Tevin Batiste, Michael Brooks, Jamal Owens and Joseph Sanchez completed the 160-hour program, which includes 104 hours of hands-on experience. The course is a fast-tracked version of Blinn’s highly-regarded machinist program.
“These students don’t just graduate with a diploma,” said Megan Costanza, dean of Workforce Education at Blinn College. “They graduate with a high-demand skill that makes them immediately desirable to local companies.”
Machinists use specialized tools to make or modify metal and plastic parts by cutting away excess material in much the same way a woodcarver cuts away wood to form a specific shape or design. The Hodde Center course covers mathematics, precision measurement, blueprint reading and operation of mills and lathes. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas machinists earn a mean hourly wage of $19.28.
“The students did an outstanding job," said Hodde Center Director David Yeager. " They took the training seriously, learned the skills necessary to obtain employment, assisted each other and met the requirements and level of quality to obtain certification. They had 100 percent attendance and met the challenges involved in applied mathematics, operational procedures, and exact measurement.”
While Blinn provided the machinist training, Workforce Solutions provided job skills training, teaching students to draft strong resumes and complete successful job interviews. Students also toured manufacturing sites, and Workforce Solutions will help the students obtain jobs.
Workforce Solutions sponsors each student through Workforce Investment Act youth training funds. The program is open to income-eligible students.
The Mary Catherine Harris School serves Bryan ISD students who are at-risk of not completing high school. It is designed for students willing to concentrate on scholastic work to gain a diploma or GED, coupled with a focus on the students' vocational/career objectives. To be admitted to this school, students must be nominated by their home campus academic adviser and/or administrator.
Blinn’s Workforce Education Division offers non-credit classes designed to fulfill the training needs of individuals, businesses and industry, and its staff works in cooperation with local businesses to provide a well-trained workforce that strengthens the local economy. For enrollment information and to learn about financial aid opportunities, visit: www.blinn.edu.