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Jan. 13, 2011

Blinn recognized for gathering employer feedback

College was among only two institutions awarded across the state

Pictured from left to right, Kynsie Benefield, Karen Buck, Wes Jurey, Dr. Ted Raspiller, Dr. Bob Brick, and Sarah Rosser.

Blinn College earned a prestigious statewide award recently for proactively gathering employer feedback after it sends graduates into the workforce.

The Texas Workforce Investment Council invited Blinn College Vice President of Applied Sciences and Workforce Education Dr. Bob Brick and his staff to speak in front of the council in December and receive the Model of Promising Practice Award for determining employer satisfaction. Blinn received the award along with Lone Star College, marking the only two community colleges in the state lauded for employer satisfaction programs. The schools were recognized for using evaluation surveys to evaluate employer satisfaction and then using that data to improve institutional and student performance.

"We use our surveys to make continuous improvements to our programs," Brick said. "Many employers feel that they get students out of college who need re-training in order to be productive, but our graduates are not facing that same kind of plight when they enter the workplace."

In fact, Blinn’s system for garnering feedback from employers has been so successful that its students are often ahead of the curve. When Blinn's radiology program learned from local clinics that they were transitioning from film x-rays to digital x-rays, Blinn updated its program to train its students in the latest techniques.

"Our students were so well-trained that the local clinics used our students to train their own staff," Brick said. "And when the employers got new equipment, they used our students to train them."

Brick said Karen Buck, the Director of Technical Education Quality Initiatives, was integral in setting up Blinn’s system of surveys for the different fields Blinn students enter after graduation. The system ensures that employers complete and return the surveys to Blinn and tracks where Blinn students are finding employment after graduation.

The Texas Workforce Investment Council, which presented the award, assists the governor and the legislature with strategic planning for and evaluation of the Texas workforce development system. The Council’s strategic priority is to promote the linkage of education, workforce and economic development to leverage resources, increase collaboration among state and local partners and build the pipeline of skilled workers that Texas must have to prosper in the 21st century.

"We were pleased to be held up as a model institution for gauging employer satisfaction with our graduates," Buck said.  "The data we gain from these surveys helps us tailor our training and stay relevant for our students, who then become valuable and marketable employees."