Tarrant County College: Empowering Students and Building Strong Partnerships for a Thriving Future

Tarrant County College: Empowering Students and Building Strong Partnerships for a Thriving Future

Tarrant County College, one of the largest community colleges in Texas, is committed to providing accessible and high-quality academic and technical programs. In an exclusive interview with Chancellor Elva Concha LeBlanc, Invest explores the college’s recent achievements, partnerships, program developments, campus revitalizations, and future prospects.

Highlights and Milestones of the Past Year

Tarrant County College
Tarrant County College

The past 12 months have been filled with exciting developments for Tarrant County College. The college’s contribution to the Tarrant County economy stands at an impressive $2.1 billion annually. It plays a crucial role in the region’s economic growth and knowledge-based economy, emphasizing the importance of tangible student learning outcomes. Rather than focusing solely on enrollment numbers, the college is dedicated to producing highly skilled graduates prepared for the workforce.

Shifting Focus to Student Learning Outcomes

Tarrant County College
Tarrant County College

Tarrant County College recognizes its three major roles, including providing education suited for learners of all ages. A remarkable initiative, the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (PTECH), has been a game changer. It aims to engage students who may not have considered attending college, particularly those from non-college-going families and non-English speaking backgrounds. PTECH offers them an opportunity to graduate with a high school diploma and 60 college credit hours.

Notably, over 535 early college high school students recently graduated, all of whom earned a high school diploma. Many of these graduates are now either entering the workforce or continuing their education at four-year colleges and universities. Additionally, approximately 23% of the student population is enrolled in early college high schools or dual enrollment programs. Furthermore, 55% of the recent 8,000 graduates come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, thanks to the PTECH and dual credit programs, as well as individuals seeking to reskill and retool.

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Technical Programs in High Demand

Tarrant County College takes pride in its outstanding technical programs that meet the demands of various industries. These programs cover a wide range of fields, including aviation, welding, construction, management, accounting, small business development, nursing, and allied health. With 70 technical programs in place, the college collaborates with 1,200 businesses in North Texas, establishing invaluable partnerships that facilitate opportunities such as apprenticeships and internships.

A significant portion of the student body consists of working students who simultaneously pursue their education. Providing apprenticeships to these students creates a win-win situation where businesses gain insight into potential employees’ skills and work ethic, while students earn income and acquire valuable industry experience.

Furthermore, Tarrant County College boasts articulation agreements with several esteemed universities across the United States, with the top ten transfer destinations for their students being the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of North Texas, Tarleton State University, Texas A&M University, UT Austin, Texas Wesleyan, and Texas Christian University. The college’s pathways allow students to explore various programs early on, ensuring a smooth transition from public schools to TCC.

Tarrant County College
Tarrant County College

Expanding Program Offerings

The college continually strives to introduce new programs featuring high-quality curricula tailored to meet the needs of the business community. A prime example of this commitment is the collaboration with the film industry. Following the success and interest generated by the Yellowstone TV series, Tarrant County College has partnered with industry professionals to launch an educational pathway into the film industry.

This program, set to commence in the upcoming fall, will provide the community with the necessary skills to excel in this field. Another notable area of focus is the health industry, where the college adapts program curricula and learning experiences to cater to the demands of regional hospitals. With an increasing need for nurses, radiologic technicians, paramedics, and other allied health professionals, Tarrant County College remains agile, adding certificates and programs to ensure students possess specialized skills aligned with industry advancements and demands.

Prominence of Aviation and Cybersecurity Programs

Tarrant County College recognizes the significance of aviation programs and the wide array of career opportunities they offer. From pilot training and airframe mechanics to avionics and complementary skills like welding and composites, the college prepares students for success in the aviation industry. Moreover, the college’s Nondestructive Inspection, Testing, and Evaluation program equips students with the expertise to examine aircraft using advanced tools such as x-rays, ultrasound, and fiber optic equipment.

These skills are highly sought after, as they improve safety measures and yield cost savings by detecting flaws in aircraft components and systems. Additionally, the college places great emphasis on cybersecurity education, covering networking, programming, and ethical hacking.

Tarrant County College
Tarrant County College

Shaping the Future of Higher Education

Tarrant County College remains at the forefront of shaping the future of higher education, benefiting both the community and its students. Through extensive visioning sessions and engagement with stakeholders, including students, the college has developed a strategic plan comprising three goals and eight principles. These goals are centered around being student-ready, serving the community, and fostering a cohesive college experience. An essential aspect of staying current and innovative lies in the college’s advisory committees and continuous dialogue with the business community.

This entrepreneurial and nimble approach allows Tarrant County College to adapt swiftly to changes and align its programs with the evolving needs of students and industries. The college harnesses the strengths of its dedicated employees, encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit. Additionally, Tarrant County College identifies courses and programs suitable for online delivery, catering to working professionals who require rapid acquisition of new skills.

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Outlook for Higher Education and Future Priorities

Chancellor Elva Concha LeBlanc expresses an optimistic outlook for Tarrant County College and other post-secondary institutions in the local area. With the region experiencing rapid growth and an influx of individuals from out of state, fresh perspectives and ideas enrich the college’s potential. Tarrant County College envisions expanding its public school partnerships, leading to significant increases in early college high school and dual enrollment programs. The college aims to offer an extensive range of 21st-century workforce programs.

However, certain programs face limitations due to factors such as FAA regulations in aviation pilot training. Nursing programs, in particular, demonstrate immense potential for growth, as the demand for qualified professionals remains insatiable. Tarrant County College continues to forge strong partnerships with the business community to address these needs. Additionally, the college remains attentive to the global economy and decisions made by national leaders, as these factors impact the feasibility of reintroducing programs like semiconductor manufacturing technology.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Tarrant County College’s unwavering commitment to empowering students and driving economic growth has propelled it to the forefront of higher education. Through innovative programs, strategic partnerships, and a focus on student success, the college remains a beacon of opportunity in the community. As the landscape of higher education evolves, Tarrant County College is poised to adapt, ensuring it continues to excel and positively impact the lives of its students and the region it serves.

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