The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

College to help train American Airlines’ laid-off employees

By Bethany Peterson/editor-in-chief

When American Airlines lays off 13,000 workers as part of its bankruptcy reorganization, some will find their way to TCC for a new start.

TCC partners with the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce and Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County to ensure Fort Worth’s unemployed workers have the skills businesses need and that new businesses come to the area.

“We always work closely with the chamber if it is a new company coming in or if it’s a large layoff,” said Troy Vaughn, associate vice chancellor for continuing education services.

Laid-off workers come to TCC for a variety of services.

“Some people come to us for skills upgrade,” Vaughn said.

Skills upgrade training improves workers’ qualifications in their current job field. Others choose to pursue an entirely new line of work.

Workforce Solutions has a list of occupations in demand. The current list has 38 occupations.

“TCC provides training in 33 of those,” Vaughn said.

Dental hygienists, registered nurses, automotive mechanics, accountants, electrical technicians and police officers are on the list, he said.

When a business is laying off workers, the chamber and Workforce Solutions meet with the company to determine specific needs and training, Vaughn said. Then, TCC decides if the college needs to add more sections of an existing course or create a new course.

“I meet with the continuing education vice presidents on each campus, and we discuss course offerings,” he said.

American Airlines said it is too early in the negotiation process to discuss what kinds of classes would be offered or if it will fund workforce development for laid-off workers.

“There are a lot of variables to consider, and no decision has been made,” said Missy Cousino, American Airlines spokeswoman.

The airline has not talked with the chamber or Workforce Solutions yet, Vaughn said.

New programs can either be temporary or permanent, said Sheryl Harris, program development and internal initiatives director.

“The oil and gas program started in continuing education and is now a credit program,” she said “That is a direct result of industry need.”

Some programs are supported by a grant and only run as long as the grant continues.

“A few years ago, we did some industrial training for semiconductors,” Harris said. “We needed x number of people.”

Other courses are part of career pathways designed to help students transfer from continuing education to credit courses and eventually receive a degree, Harris said.

Costs for courses vary greatly, and some have funding available.

“We currently have two grants in place, one for certified logistics assistant and technicians,” Vaughn said.

The other grant is from the TCC Foundation for computer numerical control training.

TCC also has a limited amount of funding from the Texas Public Education Grants, and payment plans are available.

The partnership and training options also help bring new businesses to Fort Worth.

“Many times when we are recruiting a new business, they ask about job training,” said Andra Bennett, Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce senior director of communications. “We have always had a workforce department that partners with the ISDs, community college and universities to make sure we have a pipeline of educated and skilled workers to meet industry’s needs.”

The goal of the partnership is simple.

“Get people back in the workforce quicker,” Vaughn said.

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