News and Events
  • Thursday, June 14, 2018
    BVEDC and Blinn College District earn Workforce Excellence Award for development of pre-apprenticeship training programs
    The Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation (BVEDC) and the Blinn College District have been awarded the Texas Economic Development Council (TEDC) 2018 Workforce Excellence Award in recognition of their work to meet the region’s growing demand for skilled construction trades labor.

    The TEDC established the Workforce Excellence Award in 2001 to recognize the exceptional contributions of Texas communities that have implemented successful workforce initiatives. Criteria include innovativeness, transferability, community commitment and leverage, measured objectives, and secondary benefits.

    An award is given annually to a Texas region with a population between 100,001 and 250,000.

    Blinn and the BVEDC (formerly known as the Research Valley Partnership) were recognized at the TEDC’s Mid-Year Conference today in Galveston for their response to Bryan/College Station’s shortage of skilled construction workers to support the region’s historic growth. Between 2011 and 2016, the number of building permits in Bryan/College Station almost doubled from 619 to 1,218.

    To meet the increased demand for skilled trade workers, Blinn successfully applied for a $195,000 Building and Construction Trades Grant through the Texas Workforce Commission to provide pre-apprenticeship training programs in facilities maintenance, carpentry, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC. Each program was designed following the nationally recognized National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) curriculum, which was developed with the cooperation of more than 125 construction CEOs, trade association officials, and academic leaders.

    The facility technician course familiarizes students with basic facility maintenance knowledge and building code while providing entry-level carpentry, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical skills. The course provides an overview of each trade while emphasizing the role of the facilities staff and importance of safe work practices.

    In the carpentry course, students learn floor and wall systems, ceiling and roof framing, stair layout, window and door installation, and understanding specification and drawings.
    The plumbing course teaches students to identify and interpret civil, architectural, structural, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical drawings. Students learn to confirm accurate dimensions, generate Requests for Information (ROIs), locate plumbing entry points, and establish piping routes and fixture locations.

    The electrical assistant course covers electrical safety, apprenticeships, training programs, and career opportunities, as well as the responsibilities and characteristics an electrical helper should possess. Students are introduced to circuits, electrical theory, the National Electric Code, device boxes, and raceways and fittings.

    The HVAC course provides a broad introduction to the world of the HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) technician. Students learn basic operational principles of HVAC systems, and are introduced to technician licensing and trade-governing regulations. Students learn about trade math, air distribution systems, piping practices, and soldering and brazing.

    Students who successfully complete these skilled trades courses earn four stackable credentials: the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10-hour Construction Certificate, the NCCER Core Construction Certificate, the NCCER Level I Certificate for their specific trade specialty, and the Blinn College District Certificate of Completion. Each course runs from 200 to 240 contact hours, allowing students to complete the course in approximately six months.

    Blinn partnered with The Texas A&M University System and the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) to host the carpentry and plumbing courses at the RELLIS Campus.

    Blinn’s technical and community education courses are designed to provide students the knowledge and abilities they need to enter the workforce immediately after completion of the courses. Many of these courses do not require a high school diploma and enrollment is fast and easy. As most of these courses are non-credit, students do not need to go through the College’s admission process to enroll. Programs vary in length and are offered with daytime, evening, and weekend options.

    Registration forms can be obtained at www.blinn.edu/workforce/student-registration-form.pdf and submitted to workforce@blinn.edu or in person at Blinn’s Post Office Campus located at 301 Post Office Street in Bryan. For questions or additional information, email workforce@blinn.edu or call 979-209-7205.

    About the Blinn College District

    With an enrollment of 18,977 students, Blinn ranks among the nation’s leaders in transferring students to leading four-year universities and has received national recognition for affordable educational excellence. For more information, visit www.blinn.edu.

    About the Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation

    The Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation is a public-private economic development corporation serving the citizens of Brazos County, Texas. Known as the Research Valley Partnership until May 2018, the BVEDC pursues economic growth in the region without regard to jurisdiction through its programs, services and initiatives to help launch, grow and locate companies in Brazos Valley.