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Competency Based IST Recruiting for New Class

Friday, May 30, 2014
By Eladio Jaimez

New CBLTexas State Technical College is currently recruiting students for the second cohort of the state's first Competency Based Learning (CBL) Program. Beginning in the fall, students can register in one of two sessions in the Industrial System's Technology (IST) Program.

The CBL is a skilled workforce initiative launched by Governor Rick Perry in November 2012 that would cut the time necessary for a student to earn a certificate and join the workforce. TSTC is the only college in the state to offer this program.

"We are looking for people who have experience working in electrical or automated systems," Program Chair Adam Hernandez said. "Displaced workers or veterans with industrial skills may be good candidates for this program."

Students will be eligible for a Level I Certificate offered by the Mechatronic Technology Department in the Engineering Division. Traditionally this is a two-semester program, but through competency-based learning it can be completed in less time.

There are 20 spots available per session. One session runs from 12-4 p.m. and the second session from 5-9 p.m. to accommodate students that are currently working.

The Competency-based Learning Program targets specific groups like veterans, displaced workers and career-focused high school graduates. The program also removes any roadblocks a potential worker might face in finding a job that calls for specific qualifications. If this TSTC model is successful it could be applied to other college programs with high job demands.

The first group of students in the Competency Based Learning Program graduated with a Certificate I on May 2. Six students, including one as a Board of Regents Scholar, made history as the first students to graduate from the program in the state.

"It was a difficult at times," Hernandez said. "There was a lot of work from the instructional side and the students had to put in a lot of work too. But everyone did their part and it was a success."

TSTC leaders worked closely with state government, education and manufacturing leaders to match up learning activities with industry-validated competencies. As students mastered the individual competencies they moved through the program at their own speed.

"There were some challenges being a first-time program but we managed and the students did a great job of adjusting," Hernandez said. "We helped guide and helped them save time and money in the process."

Perry visited TSTC in November 2012 to announce the Skilled Workforce Initiative, which was a partnership between Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Texas Workforce Commission, the Texas Education Agency and the TSTC System.

Perry said during a press conference in 2012 that the biggest demand for skilled workers was in manufacturing and that demand is expected to increase by 10 percent by 2020.

Financial assistance is available to students that qualify. For more information, contact the Office of Financial Aid by calling 956-364-4330.

The IST program is currently recruiting a new class of students. For more information or to register, contact Adam Hernandez at 956-364-4982 or 956-364-4633. You can also contact him via email at adam.hernandez@tstc.edu.

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