Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - October 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Workforce awards $324K to Angelina College
Polk County Enterprise - October 2008
LUFKIN — With several of the very workers/students benefi ting from his arrival watching via instructional television in Jasper, Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Tom Pauken on Friday presented Angelina College and Temple Inland with a grant check in excess of $324,000. According to a TWC press release, the grant is for use in customized training for workers for 356 new or upgraded jobs, including electrical technicians, maintenance supervisors, millwrights and production supervisors. Upon completion of training, workers will receive an average hourly wage of $22.85. Pauken said the grant’s signifi cance lies in the need for skilled employees in today’s ever-changing workforce. “What we’re trying to do is encourage people to recognize there’s a real demand for skill jobs in today’s work force,” Pauken said.
“If they’ve gotten the basics in high school, they can move on to community colleges, like Angelina College, and get those technical skills they need. “There’s a tremendous need for these skills; the pay is good, and there are plenty of examples of young people making so much more as electricians, welders, pipe fi tters, working in energy-related positions around the state.” Along with several dignitaries on-hand, those Jasper students each of whom is also a Temple Inland employee watched Pauken sign the ceremonial check that will help guarantee them further technical training at Angelina College and a bigger paycheck from their current employer. Angelina College president Dr. Larry Phillips said the grant is an extension of partnerships, formed more than a decade ago, that have enhanced the livelihoods of numerous East Texans.
“This is signifi cant in that it’s the seventh such grant Angelina College has received in the past ten years,” Phillips said, “with over 2400 different employees from 12 different industries from the East Texas area re-training or upgrading their skills through these grants.” Phillips also alluded to the recent news of local workers facing yet another industry shutdown. Citation, a local auto-related industry, recently announced that it will close its Lufkin-based plant in March, leaving nearly 400 employees without jobs. “As signifi cant as today’s grant is, one can’t help but think of those Citation employees who recently learned that come March, they won’t have work,” Phillips said. “We as an institution working with our community have to come together in fi nding some relocation or retraining money for those folks.
“The important thing to remember about this entire situation is that within a year, these people can undergo training in brand-new skills in such fi elds as vocational nursing, fl uid power, welding, air conditionerrefrigeration, or other fi elds. It’s a great opportunity to help some people get right back into the workforce where they can again provide for themselves and their families.”