Del Mar Students in Alice Take Big Step Toward Employment
Certificates, wrenches awarded for completing Intro to Process Technology course
On Oct. 26, students taking the first Introduction to Process Technology course offered at Del Mar College’s (DMC) Alice Adult Education and Literacy Center received completion certificates and wrenches – a tool of the trade – as their families looked on.
“We’re investing in these students with a rich, engaging course that’s taught by instructors with many years in the petrochemical industry,” said Dr. Leonard Rivera, DMC dean of Continuing Education and
Off-Campus Programs. “This course is another example of DMC’s ability to quickly develop and
implement programs of study to meet the needs of industry.”
Workforce Solutions of the Coastal Bend also presented the students with a Career Ready Workforce Certification recognizing them for completing soft skills training.
The eight-week Introduction to Process Technology course is part of DMC’s Career Pathways program. It’s designed to be a first step toward employment for the students, providing an overview of the roles and responsibilities of a process technician, as well as the basic processes, equipment and systems of the trade. Students learn about distillation systems, valves, heat exchangers and steam generators, for example.
Process technicians are sought after in the refining, petrochemical and manufacturing industries. Median
pay for process technology-related jobs in the Coastal Bend is nearly $40 per hour, according to labor
market advisor Emsi.
The students receive continuing education units, a DMC transcript and alumni membership upon completion of the course.
These are high-performing adult learners who are economically disadvantaged.
It is hoped that the course serves as a springboard for the students to continue pursuing an associate’s degree in process technology at Del Mar College. Those who do may be hired by Raven Petroleum, LLC, a company planning to build a refinery in Duval County.
“Two years from now we want to hire these students who are starting now on a path to obtain their associate’s degree,” said Marisa Yvette Utley, consultant for the South Texas Economic Development (STED) alliance representing Raven Petroleum, LLC. “We toured the DMC West Campus and were very impressed with the petroleum processing training facility. We’re confident DMC is providing the students with the skills they need to be ‘road ready’ for employment.”
Raven estimates it will create 350 permanent jobs when the refinery is operational, Utley said.
Raven and STED were instrumental in bringing the Introduction to Process Technology course to the Alice location, Rivera said. STED members are Jim Hogg County Judge Humberto Gonzalez (chairman), Jim Wells County Judge Pete Trevino, Duval County Judge Rocky Carrillo and Brooks County Judge Imelda Barrera.
“We’re all excited about this,” Gonzalez said. “We want our young people to prepare for these jobs now before the refinery is built, otherwise they’re going to miss out. This is a unique opportunity to change the quality of life in this area.”
The course is made possible by a $787,500 grant from the Rural South Texas Economic Development Corporation that targets General Education Development (GED) students and is intended to serve underprivileged areas of South Texas, Rivera said.
DMC opened the Alice Adult Education and Literacy Center in May with a $2 million Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) grant from the Texas Workforce Commission. The grant enables the College to expand needed educational programs in an 11-county region of the Coastal Bend. AEL programs – GED, English as a Second Language, Adult Basic Education and Career Pathways – are offered free of charge.
Besides Nueces County, Alice is Del Mar’s second largest location providing services related to adult education.
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Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.