Parks named chair of statewide Workforce Education Course Manual advisory committee

San Jacinto College Central Campus dean of business and technology Jeff Parks has been appointed as chairman of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) Workforce Education Course Manual (WECM) advisory committee for a two-year term.

“I was honored to be asked to chair this committee,” Parks said. “I hope I can keep moving WECM forward and I look for this to be a very transitional time for the program. I believe very strongly in technical education and I’m excited to hold this seat for two years.”

WECM was founded in 1995 to standardized the number of contact hours and the curriculum across workforce education in the State of Texas. Fully operational since 1998, WECM is a web-based database of current workforce education courses available for use by public two-year colleges. It provides community and technical colleges with an inventory of pre-approved courses developed in close partnership with instructional specialists representing a wide variety of technical fields.

The program was originally developed under a Perkins Leadership Grant through the U.S. Department of Education and monitored by a leadership committee consisting of a diverse population of representatives across the State of Texas from two year institutions.

This year marks an important change to the program mandated by HB 2628 from the 84th Texas Legislature which changes WECM from a Perkins Grant funded program to one managed by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and monitored by a standing 18-member committee led by Parks and vice chair Joyce Williams from the Dallas County Community College District.

“What we are looking at now is the existing process for protocols, guidelines and operations and deciding what is working and what needs improvement,” Parks said. “This program has been in place for a long time and it’s working well. I want to make sure we continue to operate well and continue to work as a field driven practice with instructors at the forefront of education being an integral part of the process.”

WECM operates on a four-year review cycle, typically reviewing up to 1,000 workforce education courses in a year. The courses are reviewed by instructional specialists from community and technical colleges from across the State of Texas and approved by WECM leadership for submission to the THECB.