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San Jacinto College
News Release
Saturday, June 04, 2011

College’s free training program results in job offers

PASADENA, Texas — A couple months of free workforce training at San Jacinto College resulted in immediate job interviews for a class of 11 participants and seven job offers from a local manufacturing company.

Sponsored by the Department of Labor (DOL) High Growth and Emerging Industries (HGEI) grant, the College was able to provide three types of training courses free of charge to dislocated or unemployed workers and veterans for possible employment with manufacturing companies. 

"All the participants who went through our program secured job interviews, and seven were offered positions with Powell Industries, Inc.," said Ellen Bay, project director for the HGEI grant with the Continuing and Professional Development division at San Jacinto College. "In fact, Powell Industries was so impressed with the training participants received that they want to interview all the students who graduate through this grant."

Training included the one-week Programmable Logic Controller course, four-week Computer Numerical Control course, and the eight-week Industrial Automation Technician course. One participant, 60-year-old Garrison Smith of Clear Lake, received his job offer this week. Smith recently retired from the U.S. Navy after spending 24 years working in military medicine and gaining experience in advanced trauma care during the Persian Gulf War. However, because he does not hold formal degrees or certifications in medicine, he was unable to obtain a health care position as a civilian. Smith said his next step was to find another trade. 

I wanted to get back to work," said Smith. "I really like the way these training programs are set up. During my interview, I could see how my instructors really prepared me for these types of jobs. My training related directly to my tour of the facility. That's when I knew that this training program is for real."

Smith's classmate, Leonardo Fernandez of Houston, was also offered a job in result of the free training program. Recently laid off from his job in law enforcement, the 30-year-old dad said he wanted to pick up additional skills to further secure job opportunities.

"A local employment agency suggested I check into the training programs through San Jacinto College," said Fernandez, who is also a Navy veteran. "I wanted a new trade, something other than military and law enforcement. I found that this program provides awesome training to anyone looking for a trade. I received 14 weeks of training with no out- of-pocket expenses, plus I feel well prepared to go right to work for a manufacturing company."

Eligibility requirements for the DOL HGEI grant programs at the College include such documents as driver's license; social security card; proof of income; selective service number for male applicants; and either a birth certificate, visa or passport card. To qualify, participants must be classified as either low income, unemployed, dislocated worker, or incumbent worker. 

"Graduates of this program are the result of the efforts of Continuing and Professional Development to provide local industry with a highly-skilled and educated workforce," said Dr. Laurel Williamson, vice chancellor for instruction and student services. "Meeting industry’s workforce needs and sustaining economic development initiatives in the community are part of our core mission. Many of the graduates are well on their way to new careers and an improved quality of life."

For more information regarding the DOL HGEI grant-sponsored training courses, contact Ellen Bay at or Deborah Johnson at Training courses are held at the SJC Maritime and Technical Training Center at 3234 Pasadena Freeway in Pasadena.

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for 50 years. The College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of more than 29,000 students in over 140 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career-track choices. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit, or find us on Facebook at

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