At Monday’s board meeting, Texarkana College trustees congratulated TC students who completed their higher education credential in Spring 2022. Dr. Donna McDaniel, vice president of instruction, said TC’s Commencement Ceremony was a huge success and celebrated the students along with their families.
“When a TC student earns their credential, it is not only a win for them, but also for their families and our community,” said Dr. McDaniel. “Many of our students were first generation students meaning they were the first in their family to attend college. These students have started a new college-going culture for their families, the generations to come, and for our region.”
Dr. McDaniel said that earning a college credential provides students with the confidence of knowing they have earned skills that will position them for greater success in their futures with a higher likelihood of earning potential throughout their lifetime.
“Research shows that with every level of education a person completes, they tend to earn more income over a lifetime than those with less education (Forbes, Oct. 11, 2021),” said Dr. McDaniel. “We encourage our students to keep going and transfer their credits to a university to complete their bachelor’s degree. Recently, we have seen an increased interest in high school students taking dual credit courses and enrolling as early college students at TC that enable them to earn their high school diploma alongside an associate degree in general studies by the time they graduate from high school. When a high school student chooses this route, they may be able to transition right into their junior year at a university with little or no debt from their first two years of college. This spring, we will award 21 high school students with an associate of art degree in general studies.”
McDaniel also reported the following data on TC’s spring graduates:
Total of 243 graduates
199 students received Associate Degrees (Associate of Art, Associate of Science, or Associate of Applied Science)
44 students received workforce certificates
In other business, TC president, Dr. Jason Smith, introduced Shawna Lynch-Watkins, Director of Workforce Education, to provide an update on workforce education programs. Lynch-Watkins said TC’s workforce dual credit programs have seen a 59% increase in enrollment since 2018.
“As TC’s dual credit courses in area high schools are becoming more popular, and families are seeing the cost savings and opportunities associated with TC’s workforce dual credit courses, we have experienced a spike in interest and enrollment,” said Lynch-Watkins. “When students come on campus and see for themselves that they can start learning skills while in high school that lead to employment in high-demand occupations, they change their mindset about what college can be for them. It’s a game-changer when they realize TC offers hands-on training they can start using right away to earn competitive wages with part-time employment while they continue to pursue their degrees or certification in professional fields. TC offers dual credit workforce programs in welding, auto body, auto technology, culinary, cosmetology, electrical, construction trades, diesel technology, and others.”
Lynch-Watkins also gave an update on new and emerging opportunities for students.
“Ford Motor Company and Toyota Motor Corporation have both stepped up to provide vehicles for our students to work on within our automotive technology program that provides hands-on training opportunities with the latest technology used by major automotive manufacturers,” said Lynch-Watkins. “We have also developed a state-approved apprenticeship program within our electrical technology course that will be housed in our new McCulloch Industrial Technology Center planned to open in Fall 2022. We are working toward launching a plumbing program in fall 2023 that will also be a state-approved apprenticeship program.”
Lynch-Watkins said TC is hosting a community Open House on June 13 for interested persons to come on campus and see for themselves the number of programs available to them right here at home.
“We want to encourage anyone who has ever thought about going to college, or who knows someone who wants to know more about going to college, to join us on Monday, June 13 at our campus open house event,” said Lynch-Watkins. “We will show you around our academic classrooms, our nursing and health occupations labs, and our workforce program sites- they are so impressive and equipped with the latest technology- and we want to show them off to prospective students.”
For more information about TC’s Open House, go to https://www.texarkanacollege.edu/step-up-this-summer/ or call 903-823-3012 to visit with an enrollment management specialist.