A trained employee base is necessary. At times, it seems it can be a necessary evil. The time involved in developing a training program and/or the costs associated with it can be outrageous - in the upper $100,000 range, once you consider travel, incidentals, and fees for the facilitator. Yet, a strong workforce is the lynchpin of a thriving business.
One thought many company owners may not have considered is partnering with a local community college to develop a custom workforce training program. Community colleges are funded similarly to school districts, meaning their base funding is tied to the economy of the community it serves. Translation: The colleges need businesses to thrive, so they can continue to thrive. Community colleges offer a multitude of programs and services that can help a business position itself for success.
In Amarillo, local businesses have benefitted from partnerships with Amarillo College in numerous ways. For example, Amarillo College recently received a DOE grant, which allowed the college to offer several trainings on hazardous-material handling and certifications. These trainings opened doors for companies like the Pantex Plant, the nation's primary nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly facility.
"We've established a wonderful working relationship with Amarillo College," said Pantex training specialist Terrel Chambers. "In the past, companies would have to send their workers to Houston, St. Louis, New Orleans, and other places to get the type of training they've needed. By opening up these additional training opportunities at Amarillo College, I think industries within our community can be just as successful in their training endeavors as we have been at Pantex."
Other businesses have benefited by creating a management training pipeline for high-achieving employees. The college works with local businesses to create tuition rebates that allow employees to take courses in business management, business technology, and accounting. Additionally, Amarillo College has worked with local companies to develop training curriculum specific to business needs. The college serves local employers on training in office technologies like Excel and HTML programming.
Amarillo College has a unique technical education program as well. Bell Helicopter, an aircraft manufacturing facility specializing in commercial and military helicopters, has partnered with the aviation maintenance program at Amarillo College to create an internship program. This partnership creates a talent pipeline for Bell Helicopter's future hires.
Another company sought out the machining program to assist in the production of parts for their fabrication department. The company provided schematics for students to produce. In turn, the company was able to use produced goods in their welding and fabrication production areas while the students gained hands-on, practical experience in production and design.
A collaboration between Amarillo College's Emergency Medical Services Professions program and Amarillo Medical Services (AMS) puts paramedic students on the front lines of emergency care as real-life first-responders.
Field internships that pair Amarillo College students with AMS paramedics not only provide the students with valuable on-the-job training but also directly impact patients in actual emergencies.
"The ultimate winners of our association with Amarillo College are the citizens of Amarillo," said Will Hendon, EMS Chief at AMS, the exclusive 911 responder for Amarillo. "The patients we serve on a day-to-day basis reap the benefits, not only now, but also as these students become the next generation of emergency responders.
When considering where to move your business or where to expand, local talent will always be a major factor. The talent pipeline Amarillo College provides local businesses (along with continuing professional training) is a key reason why a recent national study by Texas Tech University cited Amarillo as an ideal place to do business.