National Apprenticeship Week signing event at San Jacinto College

During National Apprenticeship Week this past November, San Jacinto College held a pre-apprenticeship signing ceremony connecting industry partners with area school districts through memorandums of understanding.

“With the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board emphasizing the importance of work-based learning, it is important to document our strong programs in this area,” said San Jacinto College Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer. “What better way than through pre-apprenticeships? These give our students more options for the future of their economic mobility and security.”

National Apprenticeship Week signing event at San Jacinto College

From L to R: Dr. Brenda Hellyer, San Jacinto College Chancellor; Jon Lavin, U.S. Department of Labor apprenticeship training representative; Lee Price, U.S. Department of Labor Texas state director; and Dr. Sarah Janes, San Jacinto College associate vice chancellor of continuing and professional development

Hellyer and representatives from each school district signed memorandums of understanding Nov. 16 in diesel, welding, pipefitting, plumbing, electrical, heating/air-conditioning, and maritime technology.

Lee Price, the Texas state director of the U.S. Department of Labor, spoke to students present at the signing about the importance of pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship opportunities. According to Price, the number of apprenticeships in Texas has doubled since 2015 to approximately 30,000 apprenticeships in 900 programs statewide.

“What we are doing today supports the registered apprenticeship program in Texas,” he said. “These pre-apprenticeships allow you to gain valuable skills for a future career. I want to challenge you to do your best and become a leader. The Department of Labor is here to help in any way we can, and we want to be a partner for you to succeed.”

San Jac numbers among only two community colleges in Texas designated as a U.S. Department of Labor Apprenticeship Ambassador — an initiative that brings together industry, labor, education, equity, and workforce leaders to partner with the Office of Apprenticeship. Ambassadors communicate the value of registered apprenticeships as a workforce strategy in high-demand industries and develop and expand opportunities for people who have been underserved historically.

This San Jac signing event was the first of its kind in Texas, according to Price. Industry partners included Apache Industrial Services, Buffalo Marine Services, Pfeiffer & Son Electrical, and Port Houston.

The four independent school districts represented were Channelview, Galena Park, Sheldon, and Texas City. 

View the signing photos.

By Melissa Trevizo