ACC offers employers on-site continuing education

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In early 2013, CEO Ed Trevis recognized a training need for the employees of his Cedar Park–based company, Corvalent, and he said he was surprised to learn about Austin Community College’s on-site instruction offerings.

“The convenience of ACC coming to our site and teaching employees, that is something a lot of colleges don’t do,” Trevis said. “It helped us put more employees into training.”

ACC’s continuing education department works with employers in a variety of industries to develop employees’ skills in technology, manufacturing, communication and more. Trevis said ACC instructors trained more than a dozen employees in Microsoft and other applications.

Don Tracy, ACC continuing education business operations and marketing director, said the college’s continuing education department tailors curriculum to fit the company’s needs.

“This part of the college is very flexible, and we focus on the needs of the business and the exact type of training and learning outcomes they desire,” Tracy said. “We do it at their time and their place where at all possible. We even run classes for some clients in the middle of the night because that’s when their employees are on shift.”

Although Trevis said he paid ACC for Corvalent’s employee training, about $24 million per year is available for continuing education to businesses statewide through grants from the Texas Workforce Commission’s Skills Development Fund. ACC and other community colleges and technical schools throughout the state work with businesses to find gaps in employees’ skills, build a curriculum to address the gap, and apply for TWC grant funding to pay for instruction.

“The Skills Development Fund program that’s run by the TWC is a great opportunity for community colleges to access dollars to help support training for new and existing workers [as well as] build the training capacity of community colleges to do similar training with organizations around the state,” Tracy said.

In fiscal year 2013, 60 applications for Skills Development Fund grants were submitted to TWC, and 51 were approved, including two in the capital area, according to the Skills Development Fund annual report.

Andres Alcantar, TWC chairman and commissioner representing the public, said TWC accepts most applications because companies understand the requirements of the grant.

“Generally when a company decides to commit, they have already done the due diligence, and the colleges and TWC staff assigned to the colleges know enough to provide guidance to really result in a successful grant application,” Alcantar said. “Fifty-five percent of the project must be for technical occupations or training, and that is the best way to for us to ensure that the majority of the funds, as intended in the program, are being invested in a way that supports the high demand of occupational needs of industries. It’s for individuals to acquire the skills that are current and in-demand in an industry.”

Austin Community College 2013–14 Year in review

•The ACC Elgin campus opens Aug. 29, 2013.

•ACC celebrates its 40th anniversary Sept. 17, 2013, with a career and resource fair and a history exhibit.

•A grand opening celebration for the new ACC Hays campus is held Jan. 16 in Kyle.

•The board of trustees vote June 16 to ask district voters to approve a $385.97 million bond package and a 3 cent tax cap increase proposal. If approved, the bond money will be used to fund various facility projects, and the tax cap increase may help keep in-district tuition level.

•On July 7 board members authorize negotiations to complete a public-private partnership between the school and Austin commercial real estate developer Live-Oak Gottesman to renovate the four-story, 194,000-square-foot former Dillard’s space at Highland Mall—the site of the new ACC Highland campus. The deal, which could be approved as early as Sept. 7, would allow cloud management company Rackspace Hosting to move in by late 2015.

•The ACC Highland campus will debut Aug. 27 as part of a grand-opening celebration and dedication ceremony. The first phase of the campus includes the ACCelerator—the nation’s largest learning lab—in the renovated 200,000-square-foot former JCPenney space.