Tyler Junior College

TJC launches retail management certificate

Published Thursday, 20th September 2012

Tyler Junior College, in conjunction with Brookshire Grocery Co. and the Western Association of Food Chains, launched a new retail management certificate program this fall.

The program has 114 students, all of whom are employees of Brookshire Grocery Company.

The 10 courses that are required for the certificate are designed to prepare students for career opportunities and upward mobility in the retail industry. Many of the courses are taught at the Brookshire Grocery Company headquarters by TJC professors.

"Today’s retail profession includes a wide range of growing product sectors, including chain pharmacy and drug, supermarket and grocery, food service and more," said Dr. Clayton Allen, TJC dean of professional and technical programs. "TJC is the first community college in Texas to offer this endorsed academic program."

The program can be completed within two years, with courses offered on the TJC campus using face-to-face, online or hybrid (face-to-face and online) class formats. Credits earned can potentially apply to more advanced educational programs such as an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree. All certificate credits will apply directly to an associate of applied science degree in business management at Tyler Junior College.

Tyler-based Brookshire Grocery Co. is the founding partner with TJC in promoting this certificate to encourage the professional development of their employees.

"I am a strong supporter of education and believe the WAFC Retail Management Certificate will strengthen our business and increase our employees’ ability to advance within our company," said Rick Rayford, president and CEO of BGC. "Grocery retailers in the western United States have already seen great results, as evidenced by the large number of current participants and graduates of the program. We look forward to joining efforts with WAFC and TJC to provide an industry-focused opportunity."

TJC professors who developed the curriculum and are now delivering instruction say the experience has been uplifting.

"The students in my class are amazing," said Lindsey Gainer, professor of business management. "They are committed to learning new information and have been so willing to participate in classroom activities. These students bring an experiential context to the course material that I believe truly enhances the effectiveness of the learning process. I feel privileged to share a class with the students from Brookshire's."

Don Blaine, business management professor, said the students’ managerial experience is evident. "The Brookshire’s/TJC partnership is about bringing together people who want to build and enhance their management and leadership skills," he said. "Because the students have vast work and management experience, we can explore topics with more depth and enhance the classroom experience."

Said business management professor Beverly Bugay, "Working with my Brookshire’s students this semester has been a breath of fresh air. They are a motivated and excited group. The discussions in our online class are lively because they all have the same goals and all work for the same company. This is a wonderful cohort of students and I am enjoying them and the class immensely."

Deborah Welch, department chair and professor of business management, said the degree program is a model for other opportunities in the future.

"The current initiative with Brookshire Grocery Company will serve as a model platform for expanding the industry-supported certificate in the local region to other companies in the food industry supply chain, she said. "Additionally, expansion throughout Texas will be promoted by TJC by facilitating the implementation of similar programs at other community colleges."

The retail management certificate was the basis for TJC’s application for a U.S. Department of Labor grant, part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative. The College learned Wednesday that its joint application has resulted in a $12,040,449 grant award. Other partner institutions are Cerritos College, Clackamas Community College and the University of Alaska-Anchorage.

Fred M. Peters

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