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.

Lee College handed $50,000 Fluor Foundation grant

Lee College was awarded this month a $50,000 grant from The Fluor Foundation to support industrial training programs, and provide college scholarships to Goose Creek and Barbers Hill students interested in pursuing industrial careers.

Representatives from Fluor Corp. and The Fluor Foundation presented the $50,000 check at the December meeting of the Lee College Board of Regents. In addition to scholarships, the grant money will be used to purchase training equipment that enhances hands-on learning in the classroom.

Fluor reached out to Lee College in 2013 to forge a partnership that would address the growing demand for the next generation of skilled workers. Since that time, the company has helped recruit students for industrial training, offered valuable insight about how to improve and update program curricula, and given job opportunities to graduates.

“Fluor has truly proved to be a great industry partner for us,” said Debi Jordan, executive director of the Center for Workforce and Community Development. “They came to the table with not just challenges and problems, but solutions and support. They are very engaged.”

Torrence Robinson, president of The Fluor Foundation and senior director of Global Community Affairs, told the regents that Fluor is dedicated to developing the workforce that industry needs to be successful. Supporting quality educational initiatives is an essential part of that effort, he said.

“We are committed to helping provide the resources that you need to do your job even better, and we look forward to our continued partnership with Lee College,” Robinson said.

Lee College Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown and Board of Regents Vice Chairman Ron Haddox thanked Fluor and The Fluor Foundation for their generosity on behalf of the entire campus community.

“I can’t tell you how much this means to us, and more importantly, how much it means for our students,” Brown said.

Mitsubishi gives $250K in equipment, software

Lee College received this month a $250,000 suite of digital computer equipment and software from Mitsubishi Electric Corp., which will be used to train students for a range of high-demand, high-wage technical careers.

The donation included state-of-the-art Mitsubishi programmable logic controllers (PLCs), as well as associated software and training for instructors. Company representatives joined Lee College Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown, members of the Board of Regents and other administrators for a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, May 2, at the McNair Center to get a firsthand look at the PLCs before students begin working with them.

An essential piece of equipment in many industries, PLCs help automate electromechanical processes — from the control of a vent fan in an oil refinery, to the motion of a conveyor belt on a factory assembly line. Technicians use specialized software to program the systems to produce the desired function.

In thanking Mitsubishi for its generosity, Dr. Brown noted that Lee College is fortunate to have strong connections with many industry partners. Such relationships benefit students by providing enhanced educational resources and greater opportunities for future success, he said.

“What Mitsubishi has done for the college will move us forward in our mission to prepare our graduates for industry,” Dr. Brown said. “Learning these skills will help students secure a career that can last a lifetime.”

Mark Werthman, director of the technical support group for Mitsubishi, said he hoped its donation would further bridge the gap between industry and education. Finding qualified employees is important to both the company itself, and the customers that purchase its products.

“We recognize the commitment at Lee College to the education and re-education of the workforce in this area, and we thank them for recognizing the needs of the industry,” Werthman said. “We are excited to have this opportunity and look forward to helping the college every step of the way.”

Chevron Phillips donates $40,000 for scholarships

Lee College will receive an additional $40,000 from Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. as part of the company’s ongoing Workforce Development Scholarship Program, which supports students interested in petrochemical careers.

Chevron Phillips Chemical announced the additional donation to the scholarship fund April 2 as it celebrated the groundbreaking of the first component of a $6 billion expansion at its Cedar Bayou facility in Baytown. The project includes construction of a world-scale ethane cracker at Cedar Bayou, and is expected to bring approximately 10,000 temporary engineering and construction jobs and 400 permanent jobs to the area.

Chevron Phillips Chemical established the Workforce Development Scholarship Program at Lee College in 2012 with an initial gift of $75,000. Since then, the company has awarded scholarships to 31 students in the process technology, instrumentation technology and electrical technology programs, including eight dual-enrollment students who are completing college coursework while still in high school. The programs prepare students for entry-level operations and/or maintenance jobs in the petrochemical industry.

The additional $40,000 gift will be allotted to the college at $10,000 per year from 2014-17, allowing more students to receive scholarship money over a longer period of time.

“As the demand for qualified process technicians and operators continues to increase, it is our responsibility as a community college to ensure our students are prepared for jobs here, within our local community,” said Lee College Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown. “We thank Chevron Phillips Chemical for continuing the generous support offered through this scholarship program and the opportunity it provides for students to be successful in both the classroom and the workforce.”