By Celeste Paulson
Helping students gain industrial equipment experience, Amarillo College applies for grants to support growth of programs. In August, AC received a $291,125 grant from Jobs and Education for Texans that will be used for AC’s East Campus, Moore County Campus and the Hinkson Memorial Campus in Hereford.
JET grants are competitive grants which have an application process lasting about a month in most cases.
“We have to write a proposal, identify one occupation code, develop a budget for equipment we will be purchasing, explain why it’s needed for our area and show that the employers in the area want this and that they’re supportive of enhancing the program, ” said Teresa Clemons, senior director of grants assessment and development. “It’s a competitive grant; we’re not guaranteed that we’re going to get it.”
Funds from the JET grant will be used to buy equipment for technical training in the fields of heating, air conditioning, refrigeration mechanics and installers. The equipment will cost $264,987.
“In particular we’re getting electronic trainers from a company called Nida which allow us to simulate industrial circuits in a lab setting,” said Delane McUne, program coordinator of electronic system technology instrument and control technology renewable energy. “Other programs are buying refrigeration trainers. They’re purchasing a variety of measurement tools and devices they’ll use in the lab. They’re getting an electric heating and ventilation system, a motor control system, rigging equipment and fundamental welding equipment.”
The equipment also will be used in dual credit courses at Caprock and Palo Duro high schools in Amarillo as well as Sunray High School.
“One of the objectives of the grant was to increase the opportunities of high school students to go ahead and utilize some of the equipment and get the dual credit so that way, when they come to college, it wouldn’t take them very long to get their first credential,” Clemons said.
A trailer will bring the equipment to the high schools and let the equipment be transported to different campuses as needed.
“The JET grant is one which will allow us to move equipment between campuses and purchase pieces of equipment for specific needs instead of standardized trainers,” said department chairman Dr. Kim Hays.
The equipment is needed to meet the criteria for AC technical training programs.
“All Amarillo College technical programs require at least 50 percent of their time be spent in the laboratory setting, and much of this time is practicing on actual industry equipment,” Hays said. “Amarillo College staff seeks grants which fit our needs and opportunities. This is vital to preserving the quality of our programs.”