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by Tommy Wells, Ranger College
The skilled workforce totals in the Erath, Eastland and Brown county areas could become a lot bigger in the near future, thanks to a pair of workforce development grants that Ranger College was awarded recently. The two grants will enable the college to establish a machining program featuring computerized numerical controls, or CNC, beginning in 2016 that could help area high school students, as well as local residents, work toward an Associates of Applied Science degree in machining.
“We are thrilled to receive the grants to create this program,” said Ranger College President, Dr. William B. Campion. “It will help us develop a trained workforce in the area who will have the ability to obtain high-paying careers.”
According to Ranger College Vice President of Workforce Development Dixon Bailey, the two Texas Workforce Commission grants total approximately $370,000 and will help fund the creation of a machining curriculum based out of the college’s Erath County Advanced Training Center in Stephenville, as well as purchase mobile CNC machining units.
Individuals enrolled in the machining program can achieve three different levels through the course, including a Certification of Completion (Level I) after two semesters. A Level II certification can be obtained with three semesters of work, and, eventually, an Associates of Applied Science degree at the end of two years of study.
The first grant, a $220,000 skilled workforce award, enables Ranger College to develop a curriculum for the program, as well obtain needed equipment, including a Mobile CNC Lathe and Mill. The ability of the lathe and mill to be mobile, according to Ranger College Vice President Dr. Kerry Schindler, who heads up the Erath County Center, will allow the college to transport the lab portion of the program to area high schools and communities as part of an effort to get dual-credit students at participating high schools, as well as local residents, a chance to obtain real-life experience operating CNC machining equipment.
“Our hope is that the machining program prepares individuals to enter into the workforce with the skills they need to be efficient and productive employees for local area businesses,” said Schindler. “These grants will be the foundation to implementing a machining program that will support area businesses going forward.”
The second grant, a $150,000 award that was filed in a partnership with Stephenville High School, the Stephenville Economic Develop Corp. and FMC, will help fund training the first 15 students in the program as they progress toward receiving their National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) certification.
The new machining program is one of several new programs that Ranger College is adding in Stephenville over the next 24 months. Ranger College officials announced recently the college would be launching a new welding program this fall, and adding child care and EMT/Paramedic/Fire Science programs in the near future.
For more information on the Ranger College machining program, contact Dr. Kerry Schindler via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on other Ranger College workforce development programs, contact Dixon Bailey at email@example.com.
Ranger College is one of the fastest growing colleges in the nation and currently comprised of the main campus in Ranger and additional centers in Stephenville, Comanche, Brownwood and Olney.