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City of Garland News Release:
DCCCD Presents Garland Campus Update
Garland, Texas – September 11, 2007 — Garland’s strong industrial base is a key component in the City’s economy and requires a well-trained workforce. The soon-to-be-constructed downtown Garland satellite Dallas County Community College campus will focus its mission on preparing that workforce.
That was the thrust of the message delivered Tuesday, as leaders from the Dallas County Community College District presented a briefing to a joint meeting of the Garland City Council, the Board of Trustees of the Garland Independent School District and the Board of Directors of the Garland Chamber of Commerce. The downtown Garland campus project is one of several satellite campuses funded by the DCCCD Bond Program approved by voters in 2004. The Garland campus will be under the oversight of Richland College.
Richland College President Dr. Steve Mittelstet explained how the focus of the Garland campus mission began taking shape, as well as the timeline for construction. Dr. Mittelstet said that Richland College conducted focus groups with various community representatives to determine priorities for the Garland campus. Since Garland is home to the eighth largest industrial base in Texas, business and industry leaders were also brought into the discussion.
“Unfortunately, there are many in Garland—young and old—who do not see that their local community colleges can assist them with their life goals, which include relevant, satisfying jobs and life skills,” said Dr. Mittelstet. “This Garland campus location will be used to help these individuals learn more about the opportunities our colleges have for them. This is especially true for a growing percentage of our population who come from fine families with no college tradition.
“In addition, well-educated adults in formerly successful careers find it difficult to keep their skills current and relevant to the rapidly changing needs of today’s and tomorrow’s work force,” he continued. “This centrally-located campus will provide an opportunity to learn that our community colleges can serve them now and throughout their lives, helping them build confidence through early success in relevant education and training. And throughout their experiences, we will be telling them of all the wonderful opportunities for continuing their education at our nearly comprehensive community colleges, Eastfield, Richland and the other five DCCCD campuses.”
Dr. Mittelstet said Richland College is excited to be a part of the redevelopment of downtown Garland and continuing to work with the Garland Economic Development Partnership to achieve their goals related to a solid economic tax base, a well-educated and diverse community, and sustainable quality development and redevelopment.
Garland Mayor Ron Jones expressed his thanks to Richland College for its partnership in developing a workforce that will be essential to Garland’s ongoing economic health.
“Since becoming mayor, I have visited with a wide range of citizens to learn more about their priorities for our City,” said Mayor Jones. “Among those citizens have been many leaders from our commercial and industrial sector. The need most frequently expressed was for a well-trained, accessible workforce. These industries and business are vital members of our community. They provide good jobs for our residents. Their tax base is a valuable resource in maintaining the City’s infrastructure and services.”
Mayor Jones asked District 4 Councilman Larry Jeffus for insights he has gathered as an appointee to the Governor’s Committee of the Texas Workforce Investment Council. Councilman Jeffus spoke to the importance of solid career and technology training to the state’s economy.
“Career and technology training is important to our young people preparing to be in the workforce and to the employers searching for skilled workers,” said Councilman Jeffus.
Councilman Jeffus cited a study that illustrated how many students in the United States are dropping out of the education pipeline. For every 100 students who start the ninth grade, only 67 will graduate from high school on time. Thirty-eight will enter postsecondary education and training immediately. Approximately 26 will still be enrolled in college for their sophomore year and only 18 will graduate with a bachelor’s degree within six years or an associate degree within three years.
“Access to quality CTE programs provides a successful transition from secondary to postsecondary education,” said Mr. Jeffus. “Research shows students who combine CTE with a rigorous academic core are more likely to pursue postsecondary education, have a higher grade point average in college and are less likely to drop out in the first year.”
Councilman Jeffus also provided a list of jobs that are in increasingly high demand, which require postsecondary CTE credentials, but not a baccalaureate degree.
Groundbreaking for the Garland campus is scheduled for November 1, 2007. Construction is expected to be complete by December 2008 with classes to begin in Spring 2009. Construction of the campus will cost about $12.3 million. The 2004 Bond Program covers $10.2 million and Richland is assuming $2.1 million of the cost.
The full content of the meeting is available on the City of Garland website, www.ci.garland.tx.us. Click on the “CGTV Video Streaming” icon and then on the “City Council” link.
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Some have questioned how the new campus affects the pending Trammell Crow mixed-use development. Trammell Crow executives have said the campus augments their development but if the campus was not being developed, it would not affect their plans—they would develop their project in any case.
The campus is planned for a downtown parcel that was zoned for "Transit Oriented Development" a few years ago. The College District's plans have been recommended for approval by the staff and the Plan Commission but the Council has not formally considered the plans. The District is scheduled to present their case to the Council next week, Sept 18.
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