With four new associate degrees this Fall, the Blinn College District is offering more than an entryway into the skilled trades – it offers students a pathway to bachelor’s degree programs and high-demand management positions.
Blinn is offering new Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees in carpentry, facilities maintenance, HVAC, and water purification. These degrees provide students greater earning power when they enter the workforce and earn credit that can be applied toward Bachelor of Applied Technology or Bachelor of Applied Arts & Sciences degrees. All four degree plans are 60 credit hours and are approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Students also can earn occupational skills awards and Level 1 and 2 certificates, either as standalone awards for entry into the workforce or en route to their AAS degree.
“Students who earn these AAS degrees will be in high demand when they enter the workforce because employers will know that they have received industry-leading training on state-of-the-art equipment,” said Jay Anderson, Vice Chancellor, Health Sciences, Technical Education, and Community Programs. “Just as importantly, their skills and education will place them on the fast track to leadership roles in the industry.”
Each award plan uses National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) curricula, providing graduates with nationally recognized credentials.
Blinn selected and developed each degree in partnership with local industry. Each AAS degree leads to a high-wage, high-demand career identified on the Workforce Solutions Targeted Occupations List.
“As long as I lived in the Brazos Valley, there has always been an underserved need for skilled trades training and development. As our community continues to grow, the need for workforce training becomes ever more paramount,” said Hunter Goodwin, Chairman of the RELLIS External Advisory Committee and President and COO of Oldham Goodwin Group. “I’m thrilled to see Blinn’s commitment to serving this regional and statewide demand through their new programs in carpentry, facilities maintenance, HVAC, and water purification.”
Courses in all four degrees begin with the start of the Fall 2020 semester on Monday, Aug. 24, and will be offered at the new RELLIS Agricultural and Workforce Education Complex located at the RELLIS Campus in Bryan. This 38,000-square-foot facility is a collaborative partnership between The Texas A&M University System, the Texas A&M University Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications, and the Blinn College District, and features an 11,000-square-foot construction trades pavilion. In that space, students will work on full-scale projects using the latest equipment in their chosen profession.
These four new degrees mark the first in a series of skilled trades AAS degrees at Blinn. Pending approval from the THECB and SACSCOC, Blinn plans to introduce AAS degrees in construction management, power line worker, and surveying in Spring 2021. New degrees in construction safety, electrical, and industrial mechanics and maintenance are scheduled to debut in Fall 2021.
“These new associate degree programs will go a tremendous way toward filling a significant employment gap in our region,” said Matt Prochaska, President/CEO of the Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation. “As we work to build an even better Brazos Valley, we’re privileged to support the Blinn College District’s efforts to train our workforce and provide people with versatility in seeking career paths.”
Blinn plans to market its Technical and Community Education programs to middle and high school students using BuilderBot, a mobile kiosk where students can learn about high-wage, high-demand trades careers and the educational opportunities that prepare students for those careers. To invite BuilderBot to your location or event, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Associate of Applied Science Degree in Carpentry
The AAS Degree in Carpentry provides students training in the fundamentals of carpentry; wall, stair, finish, and roof systems; forms and foundations; and job safety. As students pursue their AAS degree, they also earn their NCCER Core Construction and Carpentry Level 1-4 certifications and Blinn’s Occupational Skills Award and Level 1 and 2 certificates in carpentry.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, carpenters earn a median salary of $48,330 per year and employment is expected to increase 8% (faster than average) between 2018 and 2028.
“Someone who has the practical experience and the business knowledge of the carpentry trade would be an individual I would most value in my company,” said Bill Bingham, owner of Bingham Construction & Remodeling. “I feel that hiring an individual with an associate degree would help assure me of their competency and management skills of this trade.”
In the first year of the program, courses include Basic Construction Safety, Introduction to Carpentry, Testing and Inspection Systems, Safety and Ergonomics, Floor Systems, Industrial Mathematics, and Exterior Finish Systems. During the second year, students take Principles of Management, Advanced Communications in Management, Roof Systems, Forms and Foundations I, Interior Finish Systems, Wall Systems, and Business and Professional Communication. Students also participate in property maintenance and management internships in the second semester of both their first and second years.
For more information, visit www.blinn.edu/carpentry.
Associate of Applied Science Degree in Facilities Maintenance
The AAS Degree in Facilities Maintenance provides students training in entry-level carpentry, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical skills for maintaining commercial and industrial buildings. As students pursue their AAS degree, they also earn their Occupational Skills Award and Level 1 and 2 certificates in facilities maintenance.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, general maintenance and repair workers earn a median salary of $39,080 per year and employment is expected to increase 6% between 2018 and 2028.
“As a transportation company that specializes in the relocation of laboratories, we rely on the experience and expertise of each facility coordinator as we plan for the move-in and move-out of each lab,” said Phillip Garrett, General Manager of The CryoGuys. “Facility coordinators always provide insights into dock and elevator access as well as unique logistical constraints to the facility under their management. Without a doubt, it would be very difficult for The CryoGuys to be successful without the knowledge and wisdom of facility coordinators.”
In the first year of the program, courses include Basic Construction Safety, Introduction to Carpentry, Testing and Inspection Systems, Basic Electrical Theory, Industrial Mathematics, Electrical Calculations I, and National Electrical Code. During the second year, students take Residential and Light Commercial Blueprint Reading or Basic Blueprint Reading for Plumbers, Plumbing Codes I, Piping Standards and Materials, Residential Construction Plumbing, Gas and Electric Heating, Residential Air Conditioning, and Business and Professional Communication. Students also participate in property maintenance and management internships in the second semester of both their first and second years.
For more information, visit www.blinn.edu/facilities-maintenance
Associate of Applied Science Degree in HVAC
The AAS Degree in HVAC provides students training in the fundamentals of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning; safety; residential and commercial applications; heat pumps; and Environmental Protection Agency recovery certification. As students pursue their AAS degree, they also earn their NCCER Core and Level 1-4 credentials and their Blinn Occupational Skills Award and Level 1 and 2 certificates.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, HVAC and refrigeration mechanics and installers earn a median salary of $48,730 per year and employment is expected to grow 13% (much faster than average) between 2018 and 2028.
“We are often in the market for new hires,” said Richard D. Morris, owner of Clear Creek Heat & Air. “Having a new pool of college-trained technicians with an associate degree will be of great value to HVAC contractors in the Brazos Valley.”
In the first year of the program, courses include Basic Electricity for HVAC, Basic Construction Safety, Refrigeration Principles, Residential Air Conditioning, Industrial Mathematics, Gas and Electric Heating, Advanced Electricity for HVAC, and Air Conditioning Troubleshooting. Second-year courses include Heat Pumps, Advanced Air Conditioning Controls, Commercial Refrigeration, EPA Recovery Certification Preparation, Testing, Adjusting, and Balancing HVAC Systems, and Business and Professional Communications. Students also participate in property maintenance and management internships in the second semester of both their first and second years.
For more information, visit www.blinn.edu/hvac.
Associate of Applied Science Degree in Water Purification
The AAS Degree in Water Purification provides students training in monitoring and operating the system of machines included in the transfer and treatment of water or wastewater. As students pursue their AAS degree, they also earn their Blinn occupational skills award and Level 1 and 2 certificates.
Blinn’s AAS degree transfers directly into the Bachelor of Science in Water Resources Science and Technology offered by Texas A&M University-San Antonio at the RELLIS Campus.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators earn a median salary of $47,760 per year and Texas has the second-highest employment in the nation.
“This certification goes to show that the individual has a genuine desire and interest in growing with and contributing to the future growth of this industry,” said Chris F. Wright, Assistant Director of Public Works for Cibolo, Texas. “As a hiring manager for water and wastewater utilities, I would definitely give significant weight to any candidate with a Certified Water Professional Certificate.”
In the first year of the program, courses include Business and Professional Communication, Basic Wastewater Operations, Basic Water Works Operation, Quality Assurance and Quality Control, Principles of Management, Waste Minimization and Pollution Prevention, and Wastewater Laboratory. Second-year courses include Surface and Groundwater Collection, Wastewater Collection, Advanced Communications in Management, Water Rules and Regulations, and Advanced Environmental Instrumental Analysis. Students also participate in property maintenance and management internships in the second semester of both their first and second years.
For more information, visit www.blinn.edu/water-purification.
(COURTESY: Richard Bray, Blinn Information)