Texarkana College’s Externship Program Builds Pipeline of Skilled Workers for Regional Employers


Texarkana College’s Community & Business Education (CBE) Center provides training programs to help build a stronger regional economy. At today’s Board of Trustees meeting, Mendy Sharp, CBE executive director, shared news about a new externship program that partners with local business and industry entities to match skilled students with companies who have workforce needs. Sharp told trustees that a pipeline of student applicants and employers who have shown interest in the program already exists.

“The externship program is designed to identify and recruit talent from a pool of student applicants who match the emerging workforce needs of local business or industry partners,” Sharp said. “The externship opportunity provides a student with exposure to a job, business or industry in their career field of interest. The benefits to an employer are to help expose employers to the talent available within our community and to build a pipeline of employees ready to meet their growing demand for skilled workers.”

Sharp said the hybrid word “externship” combines the meaning of experience with a short internship.

“A business partner who accepts a student extern will provide a closely supervised experience within a workplace setting allowing students to gain real-world knowledge and practical skills,” Sharp said. “We have already identified several community partners over the past few months and have placed externs with them.”

Sharp said through their placement, students enhance their skills, learn how to integrate practical knowledge learned in their academic programs, and have opportunities to sharpen time management and self-discipline skills to maximize their productivity.

“We are eager to get started in 2020 to build more business and industry partnerships and provide greater opportunities for student externships within our community,” Sharp said.

Seed money for the externship program came through a grant from the Texas Pioneer Foundation.

In other business, Trustees heard a report from the audit team of Thomas and Thomas Certified Public Accountants on the results of the College’s audit for fiscal year 2018-2019 ending August 31, 2019. Tim Holt, lead auditor for Thomas & Thomas, said the audit was clean with zero findings. Kim Jones, TC’s chief financial officer, said fiscal responsibility is a top priority at TC.

“Every entity within the college is mindful of the need to be fiscally responsible with resources,” Jones said. “I am grateful for the hard work and dedication by our faculty and staff who remain committed to excellence and find ways to provide outstanding student service within a bare-bones budget.”

TC Board President Kyle Davis said college officials are doing an excellent job of maximizing their budget.

“When it comes to pulling together as a team to achieve huge goals on a stretched budget, the work this group does with limited funds and an aging facility is remarkable,” Davis said. “At every turn, faculty and staff are working harder than ever to provide great service to students with very limited resources.”

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