Today Texarkana College officials announced the addition of high-tech occupational training program Industrial Maintenance/Multi-Craft to the list of programs to be offered at the proposed TC Cass County training site. The Industrial Maintenance/Multi-Craft program, along with vocational nursing, welding, cosmetology and truck driving, would be developed at the proposed TC Cass County site if voters choose to join the TC district in the November election.
The addition of Industrial Maintenance/Multi-Craft comes as a direct response to the needs of local industries, who seek highly trained employees who are ready to go to work with a broad base of knowledge in industrial technologies. With local wages starting at $28-$32 per hour for entry-level jobs, students completing this certificate program enter the workforce with great earning potential and a solid outlook for regional employment.
International Paper, Cass County’s largest employer, along with Cooper Tire & Rubber and Domtar Mill, worked with Texarkana College to develop the program and customize the curriculum to respond to regional workforce forecasts.
“Skilled workers are the key to keeping International Paper’s presence in Cass County strong and productive,” said Matt Barbour, Mill Manager for International Paper in Domino, Texas. “Having TC’s Industrial Maintenance/Multi-Craft program available in Cass County is exactly what IP needs.”
Industrial employers like International Paper, Cooper Tire & Rubber and Domtar Mill make up a large percentage of the regional labor force and provide stability and high earning potential for employees. However, industries are now facing high employee attrition rates due to an aging workforce.
Scott Cole, Cooper Tire & Rubber Plant Manager, said Cooper Tire is looking for employees who are ready to go to work with a highly technical, multi-craft industrial skill set.
“We are optimistic about the long term impact the expansion of TC’s Industrial Maintenance program will have on our workforce,” Cole said. “Students earning certification from this program demonstrate a flexible, broad base of knowledge that enables them to adapt to just about any industrial application.”
Students graduate from the Industrial Maintenance/Multi Craft program with knowledge and experience in a wide range of critical industrial skills, including mechanical, electrical, electronics, machining and welding.
Thomas Holt, TC’s lead instructor for the Industrial Maintenance/Multi Craft program, said this certificate is highly marketable and is what employers are looking for today.
“With this certificate, students are prepared to do a variety of jobs—no matter where they go to work in the industrial field or what their employer hired them to do,” Holt said. “Students learn how to be responsive to employer needs and are ready to adapt.”
Holt, a Cass County resident, would take the lead on the program’s expansion if voters choose to join the TC district in November.
TC’s Industrial Maintenance/Multi Craft program provides training in the following areas:
- Electronics and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC): Students learn how to program, install, and troubleshoot PLC systems.
- Electrical: Students learn how to run conduit and install various electrical equipment.
- Welding: Students learn the skills required to weld to industry standards.
- Machining: Students train on a CNC Vertical Mill and on a mechanical lathe.
- Mechanical: Students learn how electronics, electrical, welding, and machining components work together in an industrial environment.
The Industrial Maintenance/Multi Craft program offers basic and advanced certificates along with internship opportunities.
“Students in the first and second semester of the program go to industrial plants such as IP, Cooper, Domtar, etc., four days a week to intern and experience what their future careers will hold,” Holt said. “We worked closely with an advisory group of local industry leaders when developing the program to make sure it specifically meets their needs.”
Holt said industries prefer to hire employees with this type of certification because it reduces the time it takes to train the employee in the plant’s industrial applications and safety procedures.
“Whether the industry is big or small, this certificate will allow you to fit into any industrial job environment in this area,” said Holt.
TC President James Henry Russell said the proposed addition of Industrial Maintenance/Multi-Craft to TC Cass County is based on input from local industry leaders.
“We are hearing what our employers are saying to us and are taking action to respond,” Russell said. “TC offers Industrial Maintenance/Multi-Craft on its main campus now, but we will fully expand the program to Cass County pending voter approval. This is a high demand field for our area, and the earning potential is huge.”
Cass County voters will have the opportunity to vote on whether to become part of the TC district on the back of the November general election ballot. If the measure is approved, TC would begin offering this program in Cass County beginning Fall 2018.