EHCMA donates $140K for scholarships and support

BAYTOWN, TX – Students pursuing technical programs of study at Lee College now have additional money to help fund their education after the East Harris County Manufacturers Association (EHCMA) donated $140,000 for scholarships and other academic support.

ECHMA presentation to Regents
Todd Monette, outgoing Board Chairman for the East Harris County Manufacturers Association (EHCMA), signs a $140,000 donation check Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015, at the regular meeting of the Lee College Board of Regents. The association raised the money at its second annual golf tournament to provide scholarships and support for students in technical programs. Also pictured (l-r) are Pam Warford, Executive Director of the Lee College Foundation; Craig Beskid, EHCMA Executive Director; Monty Heins, incoming EHCMA Board Chairman; Roy Watson, Chairman of the EHCMA Workforce Development Committee; and Ronn Haddox, Chairman of the Lee College Board of Regents.

EHCMA Executive Director Craig Beskid, outgoing Board Chairman Todd Monette, incoming Board Chairman Monty Heins and Workforce Development Committee Chairman Roy Watson presented the donation check Thursday, Dec. 17, at the regular meeting of the Lee College Board of Regents.

The money was raised at the second annual EHCMA Workforce Development Golf Tournament in November, in which more than 35 teams from more than 70 companies in the manufacturing and construction industries participated this year. Proceeds from the tournament exceed the association’s goals, and were divided between Lee and San Jacinto College.

“This funding will have a positive impact on the availability of programs that provide the skills and certifications needed for students within the surrounding communities to enter into the petrochemical and manufacturing workforce,” said Monette, manager of the LyondellBasell Channelview Chemical Complex and featured speaker at the Lee College Fall 2015 Commencement Ceremony. “This golf tournament is one of the many ways EHCMA brings our community together to support the growth of the Houston workforce and provide opportunities for our community.”

EHCMA focuses heavily on the workforce development issues facing the industry and sponsors numerous initiatives to create opportunities for local students to access skilled education programs, particularly focused on successful petrochemical or manufacturing careers.

“Finances are one of the main barriers that our students have to completing their degrees,” said Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown. “These scholarship dollars mean a lot in terms of our students’ ability to really finish what they start. To have industry step forward and provide this kind of an opportunity is amazing.”

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby Liberty, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 13 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Students in Life Skills class enjoy holiday fun with seniors

BAYTOWN, TX – The students in Cindy Barny’s Life Skills class for the intellectually disabled are like many of their Lee College peers: They enjoy using the computer and learning new things, love spending time with their friends at school and look forward to all the jingling bells and whistles of the holiday season.

Life Skills students pose with seniors
Volunteers from the Lee College Senior Adult & Travel Program hosted a dinner and game night Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, for students and families in the Life Skills for the Intellectually Disabled class. In addition to gift bags from the Center for Workforce and Community Development, each student received certificates of completion for the fall semester.

For the last four years, their festive fun has included a holiday dinner hosted for the students and their caretakers by the Senior Adult & Travel Program. Both the Life Skills and Senior Adult & Travel programs are part of the Center for Workforce and Community Development.

“A lot of us know and love someone with an intellectual disability, so we thought this would be a fun thing to do,” said program manager Lynne Foley. At this year’s dinner, her team of volunteers decked the classroom in red and green decorations; served up plates of pasta, salad and garlic bread; passed out holiday gifts; and led several rounds of bingo for the excited students and their families.

“We take so much more from them than we would ever be able to give,” Foley said.

After more than 20 years teaching the Life Skills class, Barny knows firsthand the positive impact that her students — whom she lovingly refers to as “friends” — can have on the lives of the people who know and care for them. It was Barny who started the program at Lee College, with the goal of providing post-secondary education and socialization for intellectually disabled members of the community.

“As people, they finish high school and want to go to college, too. They’re so proud to be Lee College students,” said Barny, who teaches the class how to use computers, navigate the campus, work with money, discuss current events and interact with others, among other skills.

“We’ve been a family together; they’re a joy, and their hearts are so beautiful,” Barny said. “We don’t want them to just sit at home in front of the television – we want them to have something of their own. This class keeps their minds stimulated and gives them a little more independence from mom or dad.”

That’s just what Barry Hawkins discovered after enrolling his son, Jason, into the Life Skills program earlier this semester. Jason insists on attending class meetings by himself, leaving his father to his own devices for the weekly two-hour session.

“He loves it,” Hawkins said. “He looks forward to coming to class and he’s always happy when he leaves. This has been a great thing for him; he wants as much independence as he can get.”

Annette Venegas has been one of Barny’s students nearly as long as the Life Skills program has existed. Her parents, Rudy and Susan, credit the class and instructor for being a bright spot amid the challenges of their daughter’s life.

“Annette was going through turmoil, but being here has helped her a lot,” Susan Venegas said. “It’s a blessing.”

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby Liberty, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 13 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Jordan: Industry vets can leave legacy as teachers of skilled trades

BAYTOWN, TX — As increasing numbers of students enroll in technical programs that can lead to well-paying careers in the booming petrochemical industry, Lee College and other Texas Gulf Coast institutions are working overtime to recruit and hire enough qualified instructors to meet the demand.

Debi Jordan
Debi Jordan

Debi Jordan, executive director for Workforce and Community Development, wrote about the challenge to find instructors this month in a blog featured on the website for Construction Citizen, a coalition of owners, contractors and craftspeople who want to advance the construction industry.

More than 50,000 new petrochemical workers will be needed across the Texas Gulf Coast over the next decade. Retirees and others who have worked in the petrochemical industry are among the best candidates to train students in pipefitting, millwrighting, instrumentation, electrical, welding, computer maintenance and many other fields — and often, a four-year degree is not required to leave a legacy for the next generation by becoming a teacher of the skilled trades.

“The kinds of things required include industry work experience, a passion for the subject matter, and a willingness to learn new skills through targeted faculty training that we provide for new instructors,” Jordan wrote in her blog. “Other types of instruction require certain industry certifications, educational certificates and degrees and participation in faculty training.”

Full-time and part-time teaching opportunities that include flexible schedules are available now at Lee College and community colleges across the region. For more information, visit the Community College Petrochemical Initiative online at www.energizehouston.org.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby Liberty, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 13 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Classes in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop available this spring

BAYTOWN, TX — Lee College will offer classes this spring to help students master the latest versions of Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop – popular computer programs used for editing photos and creating icons and graphics.

The Adobe Illustrator course is a hybrid of online and traditional classroom instruction that will meet from 9:30-10:45 a.m., Mondays and Wednesdays. Students will learn how to use the software to draw and compose graphics, icons and symbols; create graphs; transform and distort objects; work with image layers; and incorporate different patterns, brushes, filters, gradients, blends, styles, and other effects into their illustrations. No artistic ability is required to be successful with Illustrator or in the class itself, according to instructor Kellie Sartor. In fact, the ability to create complex graphics for print, multimedia or Web presentations comes from mastering simple, basic operations.

“Illustrator offers dozens of essential tools,” Sartor said. “Using them in combination with various menu commands, you have the potential to create any illustration that your imagination can dream up.”

Designed as an introductory course for those without familiarity or experience with graphic software, the Adobe Photoshop class is also delivered in hybrid form and will meet from 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m., Mondays and Wednesdays. Students will start with beginner applications and move toward more advanced material, like working with layers; adjusting colors and incorporating unique coloring techniques; creating special effects with photo filters; transforming typography; and performing image surgery, like retouching flaws and enhancing features.

“Photoshop is the most popular image editing application out in industry today,” Sartor said. “Its ease of use makes the most essential functions available even to the novice, while the incredible depth and variety of its features make it well-suited to the graphics professional. It is practical for anyone who wants to enhance existing artwork or create new masterpieces.”

Students in the Illustrator and Photoshop courses will need to be prepared to attend open lab times outside of normal class meetings to finish projects and complete homework assignments. For more information about registration and enrollment, contact Sartor at 281.425.6560 or ksartor.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby Liberty, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 13 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Lee College student groups collecting holiday donations for family, veterans in need

BAYTOWN, TX – As they wrap up the fall 2015 semester and prepare for winter break, students at Lee College are looking to spread the holiday spirit by collecting donations to help those in need in the local community.
Reaching Excellence Against Limitations (REAL), a new student organization that aims to educate and empower black males by enhancing their skills and creating positive change, has adopted a Baytown family for its inaugural Family First fundraising campaign – launched this year by group president, Runnin’ Rebel Basketball player and Baytown native Javonte Cooper.

REAL is soliciting monetary donations that will be placed on a grocery store gift card and given to a single mother and her three children to ensure they can experience the full joy of a holiday meal, from shopping for ingredients to cooking and sharing quality time together. To make a donation on campus in room 233 of the Huddle Building or schedule a pick-up, contact adviser Jessica Falla at 281.425.6421 or jfalla@lee.edu.

Keeping in mind their promise as military service members to leave no one behind, the Student-Veterans of Lee College (SVLC) are accepting donations to be given to veterans in hospice care at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston. The group has decided to make helping and visiting veterans in hospice – estimated to total more than 1.5 million nationwide – a priority of their community outreach.

SVLC is looking for a wide variety of items, including travel-sized toiletries; reading materials and stationary; new and gently used clothing and hats for men and women; undergarments in unopened packages; socks; bedding; phone cards; and entertainment and leisure items like puzzles, board games, video games and DVDs. For more information about the items needed and how to donate, contact the Lee College Veterans Center at 832.556.4300.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby Liberty, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 13 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Lee College to host Junior Achievement Inspire career fair

BAYTOWN, TX – Lee College will welcome more than 3,000 local eighth-graders to campus Dec. 14-16 for Junior Achievement Inspire, an interactive experience and career awareness fair that will give the students a glimpse into the wide variety of industries and job opportunities in the region.

This is the second year that Lee College has partnered with Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas to host JA Inspire for students from the Goose Creek, Barbers Hill, Crosby, Hardin, Liberty, Dayton, Hull-Daisetta, East Chambers and Anahuac independent school districts. The event will showcase the growing demand for local jobs in interest areas that align with high school endorsement tracks in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Business & Industry, Public Services and Arts and Humanities. All eighth-graders in Texas must select a track of study before entering high school.

The students will begin their JA Inspire day at Lee College with an opening ceremony, then rotate to interact with businesses through industry presentations, career stations and exhibits and displays from regional companies. They will also participate in a soft-skills play that explores the intangible qualities employers look for in prospective hires, like leadership and communication, before wrapping up their time on campus by recapping their experiences and hearing from event sponsors.

For more information about the JA Inspire program, contact Junior Achievement of South Texas at 713.682.4500 or visit www.juniorachievement.org/web/ja-set.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby Liberty, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 13 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Fall Commencement Dec. 11

BAYTOWN, TX – More than 150 graduates will receive associate degrees and certificates Friday, Dec. 11, at the 2015 Lee College Fall Commencement Ceremony. Todd Monette, site manager for the LyondellBasell Industries chemical complex in Channelview, will be the special guest speaker.

Todd Monette
Todd Monette

Commencement will begin at 7 p.m., inside the Sports Arena on campus. It is the second time that Lee College has hosted a graduation ceremony in the fall semester. Watch it live online.

As site manager for one of the world’s largest olefins, polyolefins, chemicals and refining companies, Monette is responsible for the safe, environmentally sound and reliable operation of the Channelview complex. He has 30 years of experience in the refining and chemical industry – including previous leadership positions with Shell and Motiva – and is known for driving culture change and personal development while providing senior-level oversight of engineering, operations, maintenance, turnarounds, reliability, cost reduction, process safety, work process and refinery management.

Monette is also actively involved with industry trade and advocacy organizations and several community initiatives. A past member of the board of directors of the Houston East End Chamber of Commerce and former executive sponsor for the Minority and Women’s Business Council in Port Arthur, he currently sits on the boards for the Galena Park Education Foundation and the San Jacinto Community College Education Foundation. He has also served as a board member for the Texas Chemical Council and as past board chairman for the East Harris County Manufacturers Association, which raised more than $275,000 this year at its second annual golf tournament to provide scholarships to Lee College and San Jacinto College students.

Monette holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Rice University and a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Mississippi State University. He and his wife, Terri, are the parents of three daughters.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby Liberty, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 13 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.