Congressman Olson visits ACC Pearland Center
Talking with Alvin Community College instructors and touring the Pearland Center, U.S. Congressman Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land, enjoyed the opportunity to visit the facility and the equipment developed to serve students in our district on April 24. ACC, alongside Texas State Technical College, are training students Industrial Electrical Technology, Construction and other technical fields at the Pearland location.
“It is very innovative,” Olson said after his tour. “They can come here with a high school diploma and learn a good trade.”
ACC and TSTC officials told Olson that process technology is growing and there is a huge demand for workers in our region. The Pearland Center is helping both current employees and students attending high school to find careers that fast track them into permanent, well-paying jobs.
ACC and TSTC officials told Olson that industrial electrical technology is a growing field and there’s a huge demand for workers in the region. The Pearland Center is helping both current employees and students still in high school to find careers that will usher them into permanent, well-paying jobs.
“Students who might have dropped out of high school are now looking at a vocational trade,” said ACC Dean of Continuing Education, Dr. Patricia Hertenberger.
Much of the reason for the high demand is an expanding economy that includes more oil and gas rig operations and increased petrochemical production.
The average age of a machinist in Texas is 55 and many are set to retire soon, said David Day, vice president of workforce development at TSTC.
“We have a desperate need for machinists,” Day told Olson.
One way of drawing more students to technical certification programs would be to allow them to apply for financial aid, student loans and grants to pay for the industrial technology certifications, Day said.
Olson said the federal government should remove legislative obstacles but funding options would be better served by local and state officials.
“I’d much rather have the states fund it,” he said. “They’re the providers for what you need.”
Schools like ACC need all of the options and tools they can get to provide well-trained workers for area industry and give students an opportunity for a career, Olson said.
Those who participated in the tour include Hertenberger, Olson, Day, ACC Grant Manager in Continuing Education and Workforce Development James Kelly, ACC Workforce Training specialist Joy Weiner, TSTC Electrical instructor Lee Salehi, TSTC Adminstrative Assistant Shaunelle Smith, and ACC Workforce Training specialist Gayland Capps.
U.S. Rep. Pete Olson, right, speaks with ACC Dean of Continuing Education, Dr. Patricia Hertenberger during a tour of ACC’s Pearland Center on April 23.