Waco Research and Technology

by Jodi Terwilliger-Stacey

Waco is the research and technology corridor between Dallas and Austin. It boasts top quality education in science, technology, and engineering at its local colleges and universities – Texas State Technical College (TSTC) (offering students approximately 100 certificate and degree areas), McLennan Community College (MCC) (offering students cutting-edge technology and opportunities for field research), and Baylor University. It’s the home of the Central Texas Research and Technology Park with its most recent project – the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC)! It’s the birthplace of the Greater Waco Advanced Manufacturing Academy, offering academic programs and workforce readiness in a variety of fields to high school students from local ISDs. Waco’s Drop Back In to School Initiative connects those seeking higher education and better jobs to representatives of these local colleges and universities, as well as representatives of local job readiness programs!

Check out MCC’s LEAP classes (Learning Environment Adaptability Project), serving to develop full-time, first year students’ skills that enable them to adapt to college life and to be successful in their courses of study. LEAP classes teach learning strategies, as well as emotional intelligence skills, such as self-management skills (being motivated and managing one’s time), intrapersonal skills (self-esteem and stress management), leadership skills (problem solving and conflict resolution), and interpersonal skills (managing anxiety and anger and being assertive). LEAP is innovative and broad-spectrum, making MCC a leader in the development of strategies to increase student retention and success in higher education.

Watch for more information about the BRIC’s 45,000 square feet workforce development and training center to be used by TSTC – a BRIC partner. BRIC scientists, engineers, and technicians will be developing technology for BRIC business clients. TSTC Waco faculty will be on site working with those developing the technology and consulting with BRIC clients to design workforce training as products are being developed. Now that’s innovative!

Would you like to join the workforce with a career upon graduating from high school? The Greater Waco Advanced Manufacturing Academy will be offering academic programs to high school students from local ISDs in the fields of welding (fall 2013), precision metal manufacturing (fall 2013), brick laying and construction (fall 2014), HVAC (fall 2014), and pipe-fitting (fall 2015)!

Waco is paving the way for its citizens to come back to education, to achieve their higher education goals (certifications, 2-year degrees, and 4-year degrees), and to begin careers in a variety of science and technology fields where workforce needs are greater. Waco is connecting the dots among industry leaders, the STEM community (science, technology, engineering, and math), college and university faculty, and other leaders in workforce training. By doing so, there’s only one direction for Waco – FORWARD.

This week’s post was written by Jodi Terwilliger-Stacey. Jodi founded the Low Income Families In Transition (L.I.F.T) workshops at First Baptist Church in Waco and worked at the Greater Waco Community Education Alliance as a community resources specialist.  She and her family now live in Colorado, but she still has a warm spot in her heart for Waco.  If you are interested in writing occasionally for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ashley Thornton at ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org .  

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