Weekly Update – March 7, 2010

on March 7, 2010 in Weekly Update

Good morning –

One more week and then spring break!  Are you excited?  It’s hard to believe we are already eight weeks into the spring semester….I hope everything is going well for you and our students as we progress through the semester.

This week started off with the Board meeting Monday night.  I have already released an update about three of the items on the agenda.  One that I forgot to mention is that several of our nursing faculty and students were present and assisted with H1N1 vaccinations.   In total, 1,090 San Jac employees and students have been vaccinated as of March 1.  There are approximately 1,000 additional vaccinations allotted to San Jacinto College, and the Safety Office will offer another clinic on March 10th on the North Campus during Gator Day.  They will then travel to Central and South campuses for as long as supplies last.  Watch for those dates! A special thanks to all of the faculty and students in the nursing departments on each campus who assisted in the vaccinations.  Well done!

Also on Monday, the Board approved a renewal contract for governmental relation services which led me to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday and Wednesday.  As you recall, last year the College worked the Federal process under the direction of the Board of Trustees. We were able to get nearly a 10 to 1 return with two projects funded.  Both are in the final development stages with the appropriate Federal agencies, but what a great first step. 

While in Washington, D.C., this week, I met with several of our Federal Legislators to keep important programs before them for continued funding.  We have submitted $6,125,000 in funding requests related to the following:

  • Workforce training in the manufacturing, petrochemical, refining, and energy industries,
  • A new maritime program,
  • Our Energy Venture Camp (designed to engage 6th through 8th graders and open their eyes to career opportunities that exist right here in their community),
  • An expanded project related to aerospace and biotechnology training for industry workers and educators, and
  • Comprehensive training and support service for veterans.

These projects have been presented to our Legislators previously, and we have been notified that there is interest in funding several of them. Partnerships and collaborations between multiple entities are critical. It is important that we keep our name and our projects before our Legislators, so they think of us as they are making important decisions that affect our area. I also spoke with them about the impact of decisions regarding Johnson Space Center and aerospace jobs in our area.

There was also a lot of talk and excitement about the $4.7 million Department of Labor grant that we were notified about recently. While not all of the details of the grant have been ironed out, it is intended to reinforce partnerships for workforce training with Lee College, Brazosport College, Dow Chemical, East Harris County Manufacturers Association (EHCMA), and Shell Oil Company. The training is designed to provide comprehensive petrochemical training programs for low-income, unemployed and incumbent workers, and Hispanic women.

On Thursday, I attended a Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership luncheon, with two economists as key note speakers.  They suggest that we are halfway through a worldwide recession, they are cautiously optimist about the current year, and they predict that 2010 should be a “much less bad year” than last year. What struck me were the unemployment numbers for the Houston metro area. While we know unemployment is nearly 10 percent nationally, the Houston metro area is almost two percentage points below that average.  However, several communities in our area are nearing that national rate.  This makes our work even more important and brings me to the Career and Technical Education Monitoring Report which was presented to the Board of Trustees at their workshop Monday evening. The preparers of this report did an outstanding job analyzing enrollment, placement, graduation, and success rates in technical program areas. They addressed the good and the not-so-good and discussed strategies that we should consider for the future.  I have posted this report for your review.

CTE Report March 2010

As promised at the College Community Day, a Planning Council has been formed, and they held their first meeting Thursday.  I am posting the Charter of the Planning Council here, so you can see all the members serving on this committee.  Plus, you can fully review their charge.  We have added more members than originally anticipated in order to obtain a broader and more diverse representation. The main goal of this team is to synthesize the input collected during the afternoon focus groups, which will be presented in a written report of recommendation to me by mid-April.  This report will then be considered as part of the specific initiatives of the overall strategic plan.

Planning Council Charter

On Friday, I attended a luncheon at the Texas Community College Teachers Association (TCCTA) “Inspiring Minds, Transforming Lives” conference. Attendance at the conference from across the state exceeded 2,100, with 51 from San Jacinto College. This association was founded in 1948 and is comprised of educators from every teaching discipline and also includes counselors, librarians, and administrators. This is an independent and autonomous association and is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in teaching and the advancement of education.  It was great to join you there, and I hope each person who attended was inspired with great ideas to bring back and share with your colleagues across your campuses.

My best to all of you as we move to completion of the eighth week of the semester and into spring break!  Have a great week!



Leave a Reply