Texas residents who attend TEEX courses may be eligible to receive college credit through new partnerships with community colleges across the state.
“Forging these new partnerships is important to helping TEEX fulfill its legislative mandate to provide a wide variety of extension services to Texas citizens,” said Dr. Ed Cain, manager of educational initiatives for TEEX.
Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), a person who registers and completes a class at any of several Texas community colleges, and also presents his or her TEEX certificate, may receive additional college credit for the TEEX course.
“We have a flexible, generic MOU process,” Cain said. Other options under the MOU: a community college might give credit for a TEEX course it has evaluated and deemed equivalent to a course already offered at the college.
Another option would involve community colleges contracting with TEEX divisions or institutes to teach courses not currently offered. In this case, a separate memorandum of agreement (MOA) would be developed detailing the specific training courses to be offered under the agreement, including dates, tuition and/or TEEX fees and maximum students per class, Cain said.
TEEX would provide the training, curriculum and training materials along with the instructors. The community college would advertise the class and enroll the students, and TEEX would conduct the training at the college, he said.
“It’s a win-win situation. All sides benefit and that’s the way a partnership should be,” Cain said. “Under this arrangement, the community college gets the formula funds and grants the credit. TEEX gets free advertising and gets paid for the contract class. The student gets the benefit of TEEX training and credit from the community college.”
Last October, Cain spoke to community college presidents at a meeting of the Texas Association of Community Colleges, and told them about the TEEX educational initiative, the MOU process and how this could help the community colleges.
“This allows us to do what we do best and allows them to do what they do best,” he said. “And if we work cooperatively, the community benefits. This message has hit a positive chord with the community colleges.”
Community colleges are being hard hit in this economic crunch, Cain pointed out. “Typically, the first cuts made are in continuing education and workforce development. This is an expertise of TEEX, so more and more colleges are turning to TEEX for assistance under our flexible MOU process.”
TEEX teaches about 96,000 Texas residents. If a portion of them move into the Texas higher education system, it would be a big step toward meeting the targets of the state’s “Closing the Gap” initiative, Cain said.
“TEEX can fulfill an important link in the Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Closing the Gap initiative,” he added. “These are not traditional community college attendees. If we get some of these students to attend community college, then everyone benefits.
“This is one way TEEX can fit in as a partner and can feed’ students to the community college. We can bring a new population to higher education by serving as a linkage agent between the workplace, the local community and life-long learning at the community college.”
In addition, these partnerships open doors for the TEEX divisions and institutes, Cain said. “Once we have the MOU signed, a division can outline the specifics in an MOA with the community college and contract to teach a particular class. The MOU agreement is the umbrella document that opens the door.
“The program is just getting up to speed,” Cain added. He said some of the training programs TEEX has conducted through articulated agreements with the community colleges so far are network technician, highway construction, carpentry and electrical. A forklift operator course is planned for Austin Community College, and a heavy equipment operator course will be offered at Cisco Junior College.