A more than $270,000 grant from the Texas Workforce Commission will allow Tyler Junior College to train 133 new and existing Luminant employees.
Luminant Generation Co. and Luminant Mining Co., parts of the Luminant power generation company, will partner with the college for the training, which is designed to help transfer knowledge from experienced employees to less-experienced employees, according to a TJC news release.
The positions trained will include equipment maintenance apprentices, support mining plant helpers and materials maintenance specialists.
Workers will earn an average hourly wage of $19.32 once they complete training, according to the news release.
Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Andres Alcantar made the formal announcement of the grant award on Friday at the Skills Training Center on TJC’s West Campus.
The commission awards Skills Development Fund grants to partnering entities to promote collaboration among businesses, public community and technical colleges, local workforce development boards and economic development partners. The purpose is to strengthen the local workforce and improve local economies, according to the news release.
TJC will use some of the grant funds, which total $270,967, to upgrade its automotive technology program by adding five state-of-the-art welding stations and equipment needed for the auto tech program.
Through this grant, TJC will provide automotive technology training through its School of Continuing Studies, something the college previously was unable to do.
This has the potential to help East Texas employers in the automotive repair industry, according to the news release.
The partnership between Luminant, TJC and the Tyler Economic Development Council started in 2006 for the purpose of forming Luminant Academy.
Since that time, the academy has provided professional development training for Luminant’s mining and power plant employees from around the state.
“The partnership TJC holds with Luminant contributes significantly to the local economy each year as Luminant employees come to Tyler and stay for days at a time, receiving training to help them do their jobs in a more efficient manner,” Tyler Economic Development Council President and CEO Tom Mullins said, according to the news release.
In 2011, TJC received the necessary approval to offer a power plant technology associate’s degree in science and a certificate of proficiency.
In conjunction with that program, TJC and Luminant announced created the Power Track Scholarship, a Luminant-funded program that provides full scholarships and the potential for a job with the company for recruited students who study power plant technology at TJC.
In 2013, Luminant invested about $900,000 in the local economy by paying for meals and hotel accommodations for its employees, according to the news release. That excludes money employees spent on shopping, gas or meals.
Alcantar praised all involved with creating the partnership that responds to industry needs and helps prepare a qualified workforce. Partnerships like these encourage economic growth and recovery statewide, Alcantar said.
“The Texas economy continues to move in the right direction with Texas employers adding 310,000 jobs over the year,” Alcantar said. “All 11 of the major industries experienced annual job growth, with five industries exceeding growth rates of 3 percent.”
Luminant will provide about $150,000 in “in-kind” assistance and provide additional funding as needed for trainer salaries.