Houston Community College broke ground Tuesday on Northwest College’s new Alief Career Center, 13803 Bissonnet. The 17,220-square-foot workforce building will be a state-of-the-art learning facility where students can train to qualify for certification in areas of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, electrical and plumbing.
In addition to offering HVAC, electrical and plumbing certificates at the Alief Career Center, HCC developed a certified nursing assistant certificate last spring at the existing Bissonnet campus that created pathways for Alief ISD high school students to become CNAs and work at West Houston Medical Center with advancement opportunities in nursing or medicine before graduation. HCC Northwest is committed developing programs that will put people from the Alief neighborhoods to work in areas that Houston’s needs most.
Acting Chancellor Renee Byas; Dr. Zachary Hodges, President HCC Northwest; HCC Board of Trustees Chairman Bruce Austin, District II; Trustee Neeta Sane, District VII; and Trustee Sandie Mullins, District VI, offered remarks about the facility and its importance to the community.
Dr. Hodges talked about the great partnership between HCC and the Alief Independent School District. “This is just the beginning,” Dr. Hodges said. “Your support for skills development for Alief students is so important; it’s about creating access and opportunity for them and their families. With Alief ISD and HCC working together, we are going to get students into the workforce by the time they graduate high school.
Mr. H.D. Chambers, Alief ISD Superintendent, added, “Workforce development is In the best Interest of the community, the state and the nation. We, at Alief ISD, are committed to finding opportunities for every student, to helping them find develop meaningful skills to earn a meaningful wage for themselves and their families. And no wages are as meaningful as those available in these construction trades right now.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment outlooks from 2010 to 2020 for HVAC, electrical and plumbing are faster than the average for most occupations due to construction demand, retirement of more experienced workers and stricter laws with environmental concern.
Brian Burks, Service Director for the International Management District also addressed the audience, stating that the Alief Career Center represents an opportunity for many of the underserved young people in the neighborhood who want to go to trade school, but do not have access close to home.
Leaders with community organizations, Alief ISD administrators and a representative from Congressman Al Green’s office attended the groundbreaking ceremony.