Monday, September 27, 2010

Local College Stats Show: Desk Jobs Out, Hands-On Labor In?

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South Texas College’s fall 2010 enrollment hit a record 29,054 students, a seven percent increase over the college’s fall 2009 enrollment. The college’s Technology Campus in McAllen saw its biggest enrollment increase in history with an increase of 31 percent over fall 2009. 

“We are seeing heavy demand for those gold collar careers that are essentially high-wage, high-skill jobs,” said Dr. Shirley A. Reed, STC president. “Students are seeking training in welding, precision manufacturing, diesel, building technology, culinary arts, and all fields related to computers and computer systems. These are the jobs of tomorrow that are going to help keep America’s economy strong. Our students are very smart and they are preparing now for the trends of tomorrow.” 

The college also saw a large increase in enrollment at its Mid-Valley Campus in Weslaco, which is expanding hands-on training in welding, manufacturing and other technical professions. Its Dual Enrollment Program saw a nine percent increase, supporting the message that the road to college begins well before high school.
“Additionally, the college witnessed an 11 percent increase in enrollment in online classes, which does not surprise me because we have made a commitment to expanding our course offerings to allow our busy students to learn at the time and location of their choosing,” added Reed. “We are here to provide opportunities and it’s more imperative than ever, with the state of the economy, to allow our students every possible venue to learn and earn a college degree. We have made a commitment to expanding the college to include a full virtual campus by fall 2011 and so online enrollment will continue to increase rapidly.”

And to meet demands of its increasing enrollment, STC has been busy expanding facilities at many of its campuses, including 900 parking spaces and 14 new portable buildings at the Pecan Campus in McAllen. Portable buildings are also present at several of the college’s other campuses to provide much-needed classroom space. The Nursing and Allied Health and Technology campuses in McAllen and the Mid-Valley Campus in Weslaco each received three portables.

At the Mid-Valley Campus, the college has completed renovations to increase the size of several classrooms, doubled the size of the campus nursing lab, and expanded the labs for the Welding, Computer Aided Drafting and Design and Precision Manufacturing Technology programs. STC’s Associate Degree Nursing Program has expanded faculty and lab space in Weslaco to increase access to training close to home for many Mid-Valley students.  At its Starr County Campus in Rio Grande City, the college renovated space so that the Precision Manufacturing Program can offer new classes to meet the needs of the area’s business community.

The college has added teaching locations to create more learning opportunities, including a teaching site at Jimmy Carter High School in La Joya. STC has partnered with The University of Texas-Pan American to use the Main Place Site close to La Plaza Mall to offer students a variety of day classes to ease commutes to and from work. And with the addition of classes at all campus location from 10 p.m. to midnight, the college is working overtime to make attending class convenient.

“I know that many more students hope to make STC the launching pad for their educational journey in the future and we promise to do everything possible to make their dreams a reality,” Reed concluded. “I want to thank our current students for continuing their commitment to higher education, and I also want to thank our faculty and staff who all work very hard to make this college a reality. No one ever dreamed STC would be at this enrollment level even two years ago. Now that it’s a reality, it’s very exciting to have a hand in positively changing so many lives in our communities.”

For more information about South Texas College call 956-872-8311 or visit

Photo caption:
South Texas College reports its fall 2010 enrollment hit a record 29,054 students with more and more students seeking training in high-wage, high-skill professions like welding. 

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