5/29/2019 12:00 AM
BRYAN, TEXAS - An innovative new program prepared 12 inmates at the Brazos County Detention Center for employment as Facilities Maintenance Workers upon their release. Participants successfully completing the new program received two certificates at a graduation ceremony on May 23. They earned the OSHA 10-hour certificate and the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) core curriculum certificate.
The 200-hour program was a collaborative training initiative by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), Blinn College and the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office. The program covered general knowledge of the tools of the trade and provided hands-on training in the basics of carpentry, plumbing, electrical, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). The goal of the training was to prepare students to handle basic maintenance work at a facility such as an apartment complex, office building, or business plant or warehouse.
“It’s the first program of its kind in Brazos County, and a lot of people worked hard to put it together,” said Brazos County Sheriff Chris Kirk. “This is a big day for us and the community. This program was a dream not that long ago. By partnering with Blinn and TEEX, this happened within a four-month period. It’s wonderful we had the opportunity (to offer this program), and we’re confident that it’s making a difference. I hope it will blossom and continue into the future.
“This is a natural partnership with educational organizations, Blinn and TEEX, to give these students a head start on a new career. We want them to be successful….. assimilate back into the community and not come back to our jail.”
“I know you can succeed,” Kirk told the graduates. “You learned skills that will bring good opportunities.”
“It’s a win-win for the community,” said Mark Posada, Assistant Director of TEEX. “Local businesses are always looking for qualified workers for facility maintenance, so this is a good way to fill those needs and help the detainees.”
Their OSHA card and NCCER certificate are recognized nationwide, so the participants can pursue employment in any state, Posada said. After completing the Facilities Maintenance Worker program, participants are also eligible to further their training by pursuing NCCER Level 1 certificates in carpentry, plumbing, electrical or HVAC. And the NCCER Level 1 certificate is eligible for nine credit hours toward Blinn’s Associate of Applied Science Trade and Applied Technology degree, he added.
TEEX and Blinn plan to offer the Facilities Maintenance Worker program at the Detention Center again later this summer and also to offer it to the general public at the RELLIS Campus.
The Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) is an internationally recognized leader in the delivery of emergency response, homeland security and workforce training, exercises, technical assistance, and economic development. A member of The Texas A&M University System, TEEX served more than 194,000 people from across the United States and 81 countries last year through hands-on training and technical services.