HCC Engineering Center of Excellence offers diverse pipeline of opportunities

Mar 9, 2016


Imagine a future with a diverse pipeline of qualified, well-rounded engineers groomed right here in Houston. With a critical shortage of engineers across the country being projected by 2025, getting students educated and trained for engineering careers is the priority of the Houston Community College (HCC) Engineering Center of Excellence (COE).

“This is the future workforce for Houston and for the State of Texas,” said Zachary Hodges, Ed.D., HCC Northwest president. “We have to create 21st Century workforce for Texas. It is HCC’s responsibility.”

Hodges joined fellow HCC administrators, trustees, staff, students, industry partners, and community members as they marked the official opening of the Engineering COE at the HCC Alief-Hayes campus with a special ceremony and unveiling of a permanent marquee.

“With the campus located in Houston’s ‘Energy Corridor’ there is no question that engineering is one of the key fields required by our local industry,” said John P. Hansen, Ph.D., HCC Board of Trustees, District VI. “It’s important for HCC to help generate the pipeline of individuals who become our engineers of the future."

The pipeline involves strong partnerships that make completing an engineering degree more affordable for students and save businesses time, money and resources exhausted on finding the right talent to fill critical positions.

Students in the HCC Engineering COE can complete their degrees with three educational pathways to success by:

• Taking individual courses, attaining an Associate degree, and transferring to any four-year university;

• Earning an Associate of Science in Engineering Science (ASES) degree and transferring to the University of Texas at Tyler Bachelor of Engineering Program at the HCC Alief-Hayes campus;

• Co-enrolling in the Texas A&M Chevron Engineering Academy and HCC at the HCC Spring Branch campus, and completing Junior & Senior engineering courses at TAMU College Station.

“There is a wealth of opportunity here for our students,” said Cesar Maldonado, Ph.D., P.E., HCC chancellor. “It is great to be in an organization where we can give them affordable options to earn a four-year engineering degree for less than $20,000.”

John Vasselli recently took the helm as director of the HCC Engineering Center of Excellence. He has a long history of industry engineering experience in research, product development, and manufacturing and most recenlty served as the director of the UT-Tyler Houston Engineering Center.

“I am the first one in my family to go to college. My engineering education has given me a life that has exceeded all expectations,” he said. “I am an example of the American Dream. It is my hope that the Engineering Center of Excellence will make dreams come true for the next generation of engineers that we will help to produce.”

HCC began offering an expanded set of engineering courses to 60 students in 2012. Today there are more than 1,500 declared engineering majors who represent the rich diversity of the Houston population.

David Le is a graduate of the HCC Engineering program and currently studies mechanical engineering student at UT-Tyler. He appreciates the small classes and individual attention.

“I can talk to my professors. All my professors know me. It’s really helpful, especially if you are learning these tough subjects. I am not sure I would have done this well at a bigger school,” said Le, who is looking forward to his summer internship at Occidental Petroleum Corporation.

“It is our duty to make sure the HCC centers of excellence are providing access and opportunity,” said Adriana Tamez, Ed.D., chair, HCC Board of Trustees. “Each one has the resources and capacity to prepare our students - everyone who walks through our doors - for the future

Engineering is one of the 13 Centers of Excellence at HCC. For more information about programs offered visit hccs.edu/centers.

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