The Texas Workforce Commission recently granted more than $1.2 million for the creation of the Regional Advanced Manufacturing Academy. Pictured (from left) is Frank Coleman, president of Texarkana College, Dr. Pamela Anglin, president of Paris Junior College, Larry Jones, director of Workforce Development for the Texas Workforce Commission and Dr. Brad Johnson, president of Northeast Texas Community College.

Local industries partner with colleges in $1.2 million academy

Flowserve, Morningstar and Ocean Spray to benefit from training to improve?workforce

From Staff Reports

Sept. 4, 2008 - Texas Workforce Commission Skills Development Fund Director of Workforce Development Larry Jones recently presented a check for $1,264,845 to Paris Junior College, Northeast Texas Community College and Texarkana College during a ceremony celebrating the creation of the Regional Advanced Manufacturing Academy in Mount Pleasant last Friday.

The academy will serve 14 industries in the colleges' service areas, including three in Sulphur Springs: Flowserve, Morningstar Foods and Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc.

"One of the important roles of Paris Junior College is to serve the business and industry of this area," said PJC President Dr. Pamela Anglin. "This grant represents a partnership between three colleges and industry in this region that will provide training to improve the workforce within this part of the state. We're ready to do whatever it takes to help the region's industry, and we want to share our talent and expertise with those industries to boost economic development. We're proud of the project and proud to be a partner with Texarkana College and Northeast Texas Community College."

The Skills Development Fund program assists businesses and trade unions by financing the design and implementation of customized job training. PJC and the other partners worked for three years to secure the grant.

In fiscal year 2007, Skills Development Fund grants in Texas created or upgraded 20,831 jobs, which paid an average hourly wage of $19.04. The grants assisted 281 Texas employers with their customized training needs.

In Northeast Texas, the grant will assist in the creation of 85 new jobs and upgrade the skills of 624 existing employees.

"This is the most successful grant application we've seen in the past two years," Jones said during the check presentation. "A criterion in reviewing grant applications is for the partnerships involved, and I take great pride in having the three community colleges, industries and the local workforce board involved. It presents a real model for others in the state to follow."

Other participating industries listed by location include:

n/ Paris: Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Campbell's Soup, Sara Lee and Harper Corporate Services

n/ Mount Pleasant: Priefert Manufacturing, Dekoron Wire & Cable, SpeedyMac Fab, and Diamond C Trailers

n/ Texarkana: Alcoa Mill Products, International Paper and JCM Industries.

Employers seeking more information about the Skills Development Fund may visit the TWC Web site at http://www.twc.state.tx.us/svcs/funds/sdfintro.html.

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