LEDA strives to partner with businesses and other agencies within Lubbock and the State of Texas to write grants and develop programs that meet the needs of both existing and potential businesses while promoting growth within the Lubbock community. The following list is a sampling of what LEDA has been able to accomplish as a result of those efforts. In turn, these accomplishments have supported LEDA’s efforts to retain and recruit business to Lubbock.
Community Workforce Partnership (CWP)
South Plains College Expansion Announcement
South Plains College (SPC) announced their plans to create a new educational center in Lubbock, which is set to open in early 2017. This initiative will create many opportunities for SPC students and local residents to access a comprehensive community college program within the City of Lubbock. With funding support from LEDA, The CH Foundation and the Helen Jones Foundation, the new facility provides the capacity for more students to participate in technical and specialized training. SPC’s current training facility is shared with the Byron Martin Advanced Technology Center. SPC will receive $9.9 million for the first phase of renovations for a 45,000-square-foot facility, which will be located at the former Group 1 Automotive Chevrolet building on Avenue Q. For more information, see the press release here.
South Plains High Demand Job Training Project
In June 2015, LEDA, Workforce Solutions South Plains and the Texas Workforce Commission announced plans to leverage funds and grant six area school districts a total of $158,000 to assist in enhancing and maximizing the capacity of various Career and Technical Education programs. This effort is known as the South Plains High Demand Job Training Project. The project will facilitate occupational trainign at the secondary level for the 2015/16 school year to prepare high school seniors for high demand occupations. To read more about the project and see a list of funded school districts and their programs, see the press release.
Program Expansion at the Byron Martic Advanced Technology Center
LEDA funded the Lubbock Independent School District and the Byron Martin Advanced Technology Center $30,431 to purchase additional manufacturing equipment for the Byron Martin ATC’s district manufacturing program. LISD has continued to see an increased interest by students to participate in the manufacturing program but had to turn students away due to lack of equipment and space. The LEDA grant allows more students to participate in the program with additional equipment and instructors. To read more about the program, see the press release.
South Plains Center for Productivity and Innovation (SPCPI)
Thanks to the Wagner-Peyser 7(b) grant, local businesses and their employees can benefit from specialized education and training programs offered at the newly opened SPCPI. The facility, located at 1622 Mac Davis Lane, provides training and education in a variety of specialized areas including, Operations and Service Measurements, Continuous Improvement, Service Business Flow and Simulations, Sales Team Strategy and Structure and more.
Nursing Grant Program
Many members of CWP played a role in obtaining the nursing grant, which was awarded to the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. This grant has been renewed over the years and provides vital funding for instruction, professors and clinical work. The additional funding has resulted in an increased number of nursing graduates from this region.
South Plains Economic Development Task Force (SPEDTF)
In 2002, the SPEDTF began investigating ways to share the Lubbock Independent School District’s (L.I.S.D.) many resources with students from across the South Plains region. Those efforts helped form the Career and Technology Consortium of West Texas. This organization was responsible for starting the Automotive Technician Pilot Project which facilitates curriculum at the secondary level and provides a feeder program for post-secondary education for auto technicians. This pilot project became the model program for building other industry-led certifications, associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and in this case, a doctorial program at Texas Tech University for Mechanical Engineering. Other career pathway programs which used this pilot program as a blueprint are listed below:
- West Texas Manufacturing Association
- Industrial Manufacturing
- Allied Heath Programs
- Cotton Gin Technicians
- Wind Turbine Technicians
- Computer Programming Project
- Skills Development Fund Grants – The CWP assisted South Plains College, the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center and Workforce Solutions South Plains in writing grants, which provided funding to train and enhance the skills of incumbent and new employees for local businesses.
- Workforce Solutions – The CWP works closely with this organization to explore grant opportunities for local businesses.
- Byron Martin Advanced Technology Center – The CWP functions as an advisory board member with a focus of increasing student participation in career and technical courses.
- South Plains College Workforce Development Division – The CWP assisted with building customized training programs with local businesses for every industry.
- Texas Tech University Career Center – Through its partnership with CWP, many programs have been developed to connect graduates with local businesses in order to maximize employment opportunities.
During the 82nd Legislative Session, LEDA and its partners were instrumental in crafting legislation, SB1620, to address issues regarding building seamless career pathway programs using national industry standards. The bill passed unanimously by the House and Senate. This enabled LEDA to assist in the development of educational programs that specifically addressed the skill sets needed for growing industries. This structure has been a model for many other communities, and today almost every economic development corporation has incorporated a workforce development arm.
Higher Education Committee
The Higher Education Committee is a partnership with area colleges, universities, and Workforce Solutions to South Plains to discuss higher education initiatives.
Regional Advanced Technology Center
Currently in the planning stages, this center would create greater access to technology, education, resources and services for students across the region. The goal is to enhance communication and sharing among the business and education communities.