Houston Community College Southwest (HCC Southwest) is answering the need for more workforce training with plans to build three new campus buildings dedicated solely to workforce certification programs. Those construction projects will soon begin in Brays Oaks, in Southwest Houston, and at HCC Southwest’s Stafford and Missouri City campuses.
The college is allocating the funds it received from the 2012 bond election that approved $425 million to HCC. Of that amount, $78.5 million will go to HCC Southwest to build the three new workforce buildings and upgrade its West Loop Campus.
HCC Southwest will beef up its existing workforce programs—many of which include 100 percent job-placement rates upon completion—to include more technology, health care and energy industry programs. Popular workforce programs, such as accounting and computer sciences, will continue at HCC Southwest.
“For the first time, HCC Southwest will have dedicated facilities for workforce training,” says HCC Southwest President Dr. Fena Garza. “Each semester we rely on advisory boards and labor market information to evaluate how to best tailor our programs and keep Houstonians working in high-skilled, high-growth job markets.”
Though ground has not been broken on the Stafford Workforce Building, which will receive $27 million of the allocation, construction is expected to begin soon. The proposed 108,000-square-foot structure will primarily house Energy Studies, Drafting and Fabrication, Informational Technology, Logistics and Supply Chain Management and Health Programs.
Plans are also under way for the Missouri City Center for Entrepreneurship, Technology and Health (CETH), with a budget of $21.5 million. Entrepreneurship has already been a focus at this campus, but the new building will increase the level of offerings for small business owners and their employees. The addition of Health Sciences courses will come through a partnership with HCC’s Coleman College, in the Texas Medical Center. Through state-of-the-art video teleconferencing, students in Missouri City can have access to the same courses being held at Coleman, at the same time, even interacting with the professors during class. The proposed 61,400-square-foot workforce building will also house labs, exam rooms and seminar spaces.
The Brays Oaks Workforce Building, which will be a brand new HCC Southwest campus, is a future $12 million project. The programs will focus on short-term training and certification that leads to immediate employment.
“These buildings are slated to offer the best curricula for students who want to quickly enter their fields of interest or brush up on their skill sets,” says newly appointed Executive Dean of Instruction and Student Services Betty Fortune, who will oversee the launching of all the new buildings.
Dean Fortune also says that consideration to demographics, earning potential and industry demand in the services areas will drive the curricula offered at each campus.
In addition to the new workforce buildings, HCC Southwest is currently upgrading its West Loop Campus with its $18 million share of the budget.
With all the upcoming projects, Dr. Garza says HCC Southwest will cater to its service areas by designing relevant programs that meet educational demands and community needs.
“Technology constantly shifts the needs of the workforce,” says Dr. Garza. “We have greatly vested our efforts toward not only raising the level of educational opportunities for our students, but also addressing skills gaps in key industries.”
She adds that plans for construction are still in the preliminary stages. Once the selection of project managers and architects is done, HCC Southwest will be able to set a tentative timeline for completion of all buildings.
HCC SOUTHWEST WORKFORCE BUILDINGS/UPGRADES
Allocating funds it received from the 2012 bond election, HCC Southwest has approved a budget of $78.5 million to go toward the construction of three new workforce buildings and to upgrade its West Loop Campus.
New Workforce Building: Stafford Campus
Estimated Allocation: $27 million
Proposed Structure: 108,000 square feet
Educational Focus: Energy-related studies, Drafting and Fabrication, Informational Technology, Logistics and Supply Chain Management and Health-related programs.
New Workforce Building: Missouri City Center for Entrepreneurship, Technology and Health (CETH)
Estimated Allocation: $21.5 million
Proposed Structure: 61,400 square feet
Educational Focus: Business, Technology and Health Sciences
New Workforce Campus and Building: Brays Oaks
Estimated Allocation: $12 million
Educational Focus: Short-term Training and Certification that leads to immediate employment.
Facility Upgrade: HCC Southwest West Loop Campus
Estimated Allocation: $18 million
Proposed Structure: Challenge Early College High School will move its operations to a facility within a newly constructed garage. Other upgrades made within the existing college structure.
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