TWC awards grants for welder and pipefitter training and maritime program

07.08.2014 | By Jeannie Peng-Armao

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has awarded two grants to San Jacinto College for training in the areas of maritime and craft trades.

The TWC Self Sufficiency Fund Oil and Gas Construction Project grant will fund training for entry-level welders, pipefitters, and electricians, and the TWC Skills Development Fund grant will be applied toward reducing the costs for local maritime companies to send their mariners for training.

The $72,145 TWC Self Sufficiency Fund Oil and Gas Construction Project grant will fund a pilot program that will include Construction and Maintenance Education Foundation (CMEF) member companies. These companies will play a key role in the employment of students who successfully complete entry-level courses in pipefitting, welding, and electrician.

Employment within these fields is growing at a rate faster than average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The TWC indicates that by 2020, the need for plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters will increase 21.1 percent.

"We listened to companies that were requesting this training and how the built-in practicum for hands-on training can best be delivered to our students to ensure that they receive the skills relevant to projected job openings," said Dr. J.D. Taliaferro, director of applied technologies and trades through the Continuing and Professional Development division at San Jacinto College.

Taliaferro noted that classes would be offered in the evening hours, a time that was identified as optimum for the population to be served.  

The $368,173 TWC Skills Development Fund will greatly help maritime companies that seek U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)-approved training and certification for professional mariners. Since the start of the San Jacinto College maritime program, approximately 2,500 USCG certificates have been awarded to mariners. With over 40 courses, the most popular are basic safety training, tankerman person in charge, apprentice mate, and RADAR observer unlimited.

"This TWC grant will allow Texas-based companies to reduce their costs by paying the tuition for new employees to train and for existing employees to increase their skills and to renew their industry USCG-required certifications," said Capt. Mitch Schacter, director of the San Jacinto College maritime program. “Reducing training expenses will allow these companies to utilize those funds elsewhere to grow their business. Growing their business means building more boats in Texas shipyards and hiring more crew to staff those vessels. All of this creates new jobs for Texas.”

Schacter added that companies involved in the TWC-funded training include Buffalo Marine, J.A.M. Marine, G&H Towing, and Higman Barge Lines.

In addition to the maritime program for professional mariners, San Jacinto College also is home to an Associate of Applied Science in Maritime Technology for those who are interested in working on a vessel at a more advanced level. This summer marks the first year maritime students are interning with local companies. The College also offers an Associate of Applied Science in International Business Logistics and Supply Chain Management, and an Introduction to Ships and Shipping course.

About the Continuing and Professional Development division
This noncredit division of the College provides training for both current and future employees in the professional and technical job sectors, as well as provides participants with open enrollment course options to enhance their lives. Professional and technical training is available through contract training, open enrollment and grant funding. For more information, call 281-476-1838.

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 credit students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career and workforce preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit www.sanjac.edu, or follow us on Facebook.