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Texas Workforce Commission awards Blinn, Igloo nearly $400,000 training grant

Skills Development Fund grant will provide safety and skills training for 341 Igloo employees

February 4, 2016

The Texas Workforce Commission presented Blinn College and Igloo Products Corp. an approximately $400,000 grant Thursday to provide safety and skills training for 341 Igloo employees.

Texas Workforce Commissioner for Employers Ruth R. Hughs made the announcement alongside Dr. Mary Hensley, Blinn district president/CEO, and Mark Parrish, president of Igloo Products Corp.

As part of the $384,469 grant, Blinn will provide training in:

  • Advanced Scientific Molding
  • Certification
  • Fire Safety
  • Employee Management
  • Lockout/Tagout Procedures
  • Machine Maintenance
  • Marketing
  • Occupational Safety and Health
  • Precision Measurement
  • Rigging
  • Supervisory Skills
  • Hydraulics, Pneumatics, Mechanics
  • Arc Flash Protection
  • Electrical Safety
  • Forklift Operator Certification
  • Technical and Manufacturing
  • Machine Guarding
  • Processes/Production
  • Technical/Business Mathematics
  • 10-hour General Industry Program
  • Product Design
  • Silica Awareness
  • CPR/First Aid/AED
  • Fall Protection
  • Manufacturing Safety
  • Lean Manufacturing
  • Production
  • Distribution
  • Oracle Technology System
  • Overhead Crane Operations
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Conversational Spanish
  • Manufacturing Core Skills
  • Transportation Regulations
  • Computers

The training will upgrade 277 current jobs and create 64 new jobs.

To facilitate employee training and retention, Blinn and Igloo had already partnered to develop a three-year Technician Apprenticeship Program consisting of 204 hours of industrial maintenance instruction per year to each Igloo employee.

“The partnership we celebrate today benefits Blinn College and Igloo Products, but more importantly, it will change the lives of the employees who learn new techniques, skills and safety strategies,” Hensley said. “It will provide employees the tools and the confidence they need to become workforce leaders, keeping Igloo employees on the cutting edge of their industry.”

Igloo Products Corp. is a Texas-based international designer, manufacturer and marketer of coolers and other outdoor products and housewares. Founded in 1947, Igloo originated the cooler category and remains the number one cooler brand worldwide. For more than 67 years, the Igloo brand has been synonymous with quality, durability and innovation. Offering more than 500 different products, Igloo coolers are sold by more than 110,000 retailer storefronts around the world. 

“Lifelong learning is an essential contributor to both individual and collective success, and our collaboration with Blinn ensures that each of us learns something new each day,” Parrish said. “We are proud to partner with Blinn College in our shared mission of lifelong learning and investing in our employees.”

The Skills Development Fund provides local customized training opportunities for Texas businesses and workers to increase skill levels and wages of the Texas workforce. During fiscal year 2013, Texas Workforce Commission awarded 40 Skills Development Fund grants totaling $21.48 million to serve 70 Texas businesses, support the creation of 3,409 new jobs and upgrade the skills of 10,833 workers in existing jobs.

Blinn’s Division of Workforce Education has secured $1.4 million in Skills Development Fund grants for local business and industry since August 2014.

“Blinn is excited about the opportunity to partner with more local businesses in applying for these funds,” said Rod Thomas, director of workforce and corporate partnerships. “Also available is the Skills for Small Business program, for businesses with less than 100 employees, which pays tuition directly to Blinn for coursework related to an employee’s job. Classes in QuickBooks, supervision, Microsoft Office, conversational Spanish and more are open.”

Businesses with fewer than 100 employees are encouraged to contact Blinn Workforce Education for more information regarding Skills for Small Business grants. Businesses, consortiums and trade unions with more than 100 employees are also encouraged to contact the College at 979-209-7205 to explore partnering with Blinn for Skills Development Fund training opportunities.

Blinn’s Division of Workforce Education improves the economy by helping job-seekers obtain the skills and credentials they need to succeed in the workplace, and by partnering with local businesses to offer training opportunities for incumbent and new employees. For more information on Blinn’s Workforce Education opportunities, including class schedules and registration information, visit