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  • 10/1/2018

    An Educated Workforce Is Key to Economic Development

    Whether you are a resident seeking access to quality education and training for yourself or family members, or an employer looking to locate in an area that is home to an educated workforce, Collin County, Texas delivers.
     
    Here in Fairview we are in an enviable position, with a highly regarded multiple-campus public college in our own back yard, dozens more institutions of higher learning within commuting distance and a labor pool of approximately 1.5 million within a 30-minute drive.
     
    Collin County on Cutting Edge of Education
    Preparing residents with marketable knowledge and skills is a top priority in Collin County, an advantage for current and future employees as well as employers. In direct response to the increasing workforce demands to fill STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) positions, we’re seeing a strong commitment to related programs in local schools.
     
    For instance, Allen Independent School District is building a $36 million STEAM center (with art adding the “A” to STEM), and Collin College is building a $142 million technical campus next door, which will specialize in high-demand technical workforce education, including automotive technology, construction trades, HVAC, health sciences, information technology, manufacturing, supply chain management, welding and other areas supporting local businesses and industries.
     
    Corporations are investing in STEM training, too. Collin County-based Toyota has announced that it will donate a total of $220,000 to 12 North Texas schools to develop STEM programs.
     
    Collin College: Our Not-So-Hidden Gem
    Originally known as a great community college, Collin College has become so much more to so many, with campuses conveniently located throughout Collin County and a growing list of programs and partnerships. The school now serves about 53,000 credit and continuing education students each year, offering more than 100 degrees and certificates in a wide range of disciplines.
     
    Collin’s dual credit program allows students to earn college credit while still in high school, giving them a jumpstart and increasing the likelihood of their completion of a degree program. The fact that Collin College’s tuition is the lowest in the state of Texas is icing on the cake.
     
    Among the offerings at the above-mentioned technical campus will be the college’s new construction management associate degree and two certificate programs, which will help meet the workforce needs in our area’s booming construction industry.
     
    The recently opened Public Safety Training Center houses the college’s fire science and law enforcement academies and provides expanded training and professional development for local fire departments and law enforcement agencies.
     
    And how cool is this? Our own Collin College has been selected to offer Google’s IT Support Professional Certificate, a pilot program that provides instruction on how to become an IT support professional in about eight months.
     
    It’s even possible to earn a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree without leaving the county through the Collin Higher Education Center, which partners the college with five universities.
     
    The needs of local businesses and the regional economy are also top priorities at Collin College. Its Center for Workforce & Economic Development is a source for grant-funded corporate learning and customized training designed to attract and retain business and industry.
     
    Close Enough for Comfort
    Being as conveniently located as Fairview is, with quick access to U.S. Highway 75, State Highway 121 and the Dallas North Tollway, means many more colleges, universities, research institutions, vocational and trade schools — not to mention a sizable, highly skilled workforce — are within a reasonable commute. That’s great news for anyone, or any business, considering making our area their home. 
     
    —Ray Dunlap, Fairview Economic Development Corporation

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