January 21, 2014
Blinn College’s new dean of technical and professional programs presented the Board of Trustees its first glimpse at the College’s new-look Workforce Education Division during its regular meeting Tuesday night.
Megan Costanza, who began her duties in October, described the advantages of bringing the College’s workforce and technical education locations in Bryan, Brenham, Schulenburg and Sealy under one umbrella to create an even better student experience.
“We have standardized our registration forms and enrollment policies and strengthened the communication between locations,” Costanza said. “This makes us far more student-friendly.”
Blinn’s Workforce Education Division offers courses for college credit as well as open-enrollment continuing education in fields such as healthcare, technical/industrial, office technology, teacher certification (the College’s TEACH program) and truck driving. Additionally, the division offers customized corporate training and partners with local businesses to seek grants for job-training opportunities.
The division offers courses at the A.W. Hodde, Jr. Technical Education Center in Brenham; the Post Office Workforce Education Campus, the Texas A&M Health Science Center and the Workforce Education Training Center in Bryan; and on the College’s Schulenburg and Sealy campuses.
To make courses more convenient for students, Costanza’s division began by deconstructing several of the longer, high-intensity programs. For example, the College’s popular machining program has now been divided into four separate courses, which allows students to break the program into payments instead of paying the full program price up-front.
The College has also re-examined its course schedule by offering more morning, afternoon, evening and fast-track programs.
A customized schedule for students using the Accelerate Texas grant allows them to complete their adult basic education in the mornings, then work toward their career certificates in the afternoons. The program, which has already begun at the A.W. Hodde, Jr. Technical Education Center in Brenham, will come to the College’s Post Office Workforce Education Center this spring.
Blinn is also in the midst of creating a seamless transition between continuing education courses, credit certificate courses, Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees and Bachelor of Applied Arts & Science (BAAS) degrees.
“We want students who succeed in their continuing education course and would like to further their education to get credit for the work they have already completed when they seek a credit certificate,” Costanza said. “Students who earn that certificate will then be able to apply that toward an AAS degree and, if they want to continue building upon their education, earn a BAAS degree.”
Costanza said the College is working to develop new AAS degrees appropriate for local industry, such as a program to meet Blue Bell Creamery’s need for employees trained in industrial and robotics maintenance, and is looking to expand its customized corporate training and grant partnerships.
“I look forward to continuing to partner with local businesses to develop and strengthen the programs that meet their employment needs and in turn help our students discover the exciting and fulfilling careers they seek,” Costanza said.
For information on Blinn’s Workforce Education offerings, or to learn about scholarship opportunities and register for classes, visit: www.blinn.edu/workforce.