HCC Northeast provides End-of-Term update to the community

By NE Public Relations

Jul 11, 2014

As Houston continues to experience growth in population and job opportunities, there are several communities, particularly in the northeast sector of the city, that are not reaping the full benefits of the boom. Many residents in these communities lack the higher education and training required to obtain jobs driving the economic growth. To address the issue, Houston Community College Northeast gathered together a group of key community stakeholders at the Pinemont Center for a meeting to discuss the challenges, propose solutions and formulate a plan to address the skills gap in Northeast Houston. Invited guests included education and religious leaders, health officials, civic leaders, business leaders, chamber members and representatives from libraries and community centers.

According to 2010 Census data estimates, the HCC Northeast service area has a high concentration of adults over 24 years old who do not have any college experience. In the same area, 2013 estimates reflect higher unemployment and poverty rates for residents. In one quadrant of the Northeast sector, HCC Northeast has three instructional facilities that include Northline Campus, Pinemont Center and the Automotive Technology Training Center. A fourth facility is planned at 630 Little York Road that will allow for additional academic offerings, technical training and services to meet the growing and often eclectic education/training needs of the community. Additional HCC Northeast College campuses include the Northeast Campus located at Interstate 10 East at Mercury and the North Forest Campus, which is located at Little York and Homestead Road.

The goal is to energize the network of stakeholders in each sector of the community to become active in the educational transformation of the total community. During the End-of-Term update that was presented at the meeting hosted by HCC Northeast president Dr. Margaret Ford Fisher, she shared statistical data, enrollment trends and successes at the College during the 2013-2014 Academic Year. The purpose of the meeting was to share the impressive achievements of students during the academic year while at the same time stressing the need for pro-active community collaboration to serve more of the under-served residents whose average age is 35. Despite the impressive numbers of 2013-2014 college completers – including dual credit students who earned their associate degrees, the record-setting number of dean’s list students, the impressive number of transfers to four-year institutions, and despite the numbers of students who graduated and obtained high-wage jobs earning $70,000 or more per year, the data still reveals that a concerted effort is needed to penetrate the educational deficit that exists within communities in the service area.

“It is our goal to focus our efforts on targeted communities and increase the educational attainment in the areas that we serve,” said Dr. Ford Fisher. She went on to ask the stakeholders present at the meeting to carry the message that HCC Northeast has multiple facilities, services, academic and workforce programs available throughout the HCC Northeast Service Area that provide accessible, affordable and attainable pathways to economic and long-term career success.

As a part of the End-of-Term Report, presentations were also made by faculty from career program areas in which jobs are in high demand. A representative from the HCC Public Safety Institute discussed the high pass rates for emergency medical services, fire and police and dialogued with community members about where students are finding work upon graduation. Attendees learned that HCC Northeast is a leading training provider for careers in the oil and gas industry.

As a next step, Dr. Margaret Ford Fisher announced a September forum to present information on the network of community stakeholders and to discuss plans on how HCC will recruit and retain students and ultimately close the achievement gap – not just in the Northeast Sector but throughout the communities that Houston Community College serves.

HCC Northeast offers associate’s degrees and certificates in academic, workforce, dual credit and adult basic education at five locations in northeast Houston. For more information on programs and services provided by the College, call 713.718.8300 or visit northeast.hccs.edu.

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