HCC testifies on Capitol Hill about offshore energy program
Nov 24, 2015
The RigOne program at Houston Community College was a topic of discussion during a hearing regarding the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) created 51 years ago to “preserve, develop, and ensure outdoor recreation facilities to strengthen the health of U.S. citizens.”
Dr. Madeline Burillo, interim president of Southwest College, testified before the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources asking for reauthorization and reform of LWCF. That includes considering a proposed policy that provides competitive STEM-focused higher education grants to prepare the next generation for future opportunities in the offshore energy workforce. This is the first time in the past decade a representative from HCC has testified on Capitol Hill.
“We are providing education opportunities,” said Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT), Chairman of U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources. “We have an aging workforce and these are good paying jobs that industry is going overseas to find workers because we are not training people here.”
Situated in the Energy Capital of the World, HCC is recognized as a leader in offering STEM and energy-related programs. The highly touted RigOne Roustabout Program teaches students rigging skills, forklift operations, fall protection, fire watch, and confined space entry. Students also learn to conduct job safety analysis, identify hazards, and isolate electrical energy sources.
“In a very short amount of time we have been able to accomplish multiple things with the RigOne Program,” said Dr. Burillo. “Together with industry and other colleges, we have been able to put safety programs in place that actually create a better trained individual in offshore fields.”
Dr. Burillo pointed out that community colleges serve a large number of individuals who might not have the financial means to be able to pursue higher education; so having funding to support STEM education will provide access to them.