With it’s second largest grant from the Texas Work Force Commission (TWC), Navarro College is continuing to influence the local economy by training workers in local industry.
As of at least Sept. 1, Navarro College will be able to train 220 employees thanks to a partnership with Owens Corning Insulating Systems, Inc. and ASMO Manufacturing, Inc. The grant is a $283,273 Skills Development Fund job-training grant from the TWC, which offers workforce development services to Texas employers and job seekers. The largest grant was more than $600,000 and implemented within the last year and a half.
“I am so happy, considering all the emphasis being placed on industry in the community, to know that we are involved in working with industry and the community and bringing some of the governmental money to Ellis County and Waxahachie,” said Kenneth Martin, the Navarro College president for the Ellis County campuses. “I’m just happy that we’re playing a big part.”
Grants like this show that money is coming back to the people in Ellis County, to provide training and assistance to residents, Martin said.
This grant won’t impact current students, said Kristin Walker, aid Kristin Walker, Navarro’s Continuing Education and Protective Services Assistant Dean. Walker wrote the grant.
“A Skills Development grant is intended to train incumbent employees, or for a company if they’re going to do some new hires,” Walker said. “This specific grant is training all incumbent workers, people who are already hired. There’s no new hire training. So, how the college benefits are it allows us to build capacity, meaning we can purchase equipment and we purchase curriculum. Then we can turn around and offer those same kinds of classes to other industry or to locals as a CE (continuing education) class.”
This grant will help current Owens Corning employees and ASMO employees further their skill set, whether they stay with their employers in the future or move onto another job elsewhere for whatever reason, Walker said. The Owens Corning representative, who worked with Walker to write the grant, did not respond to calls by press time.
“This benefits the workforce here,” Walker said. “Because we have a more educated, higher-skilled workforce. We are producing now a higher skilled workforce and that’s how it then impacts our economy, it then impacts our economic development when they have new companies coming in and they’re looking for a skilled workforce. Then they can say, ‘yes we have that’ and show that by the training that Navarro College has done, but the grants that have been given.”
From here, Walker said Navarro College has another grant in the pipeline waiting for approval, and is focused on continuing to meet the needs of the businesses in Ellis County and to provide training in high-skilled, high-paying jobs. Martin said he wants to further look at grants that involve working with high school students to make a transition to college with technical training and academic classes. Currently, Navarro College in Corsicana has a couple programs from grants related to that, and Marin said he’d like to bring those types of programs to Ellis County.
“That’s one of the things I’m happy about with Kristin and the rest of the staff,” Martin said, about having employees on hand who know how to write grants. “We know where those funds are located, and we just need to go get them.”