CAREER AND TECHNICAL TRAINING
The Texas Skills Development Fund assists businesses by financing customized job training through local colleges or technical schools for new or existing jobs. The funds are granted directly to the college and used for the companies’ specific training program needs. The funds aren’t used for equipment or for paying trainees' wages, just for the actual instruction. Twenty-five million dollars have been appropriated to the fund for the current two-year operating cycle.
A local employer seeking Skills Development Fund assistance can work with Amarillo College to develop a joint proposal requesting funding, which is then presented to the Texas Workforce Commission. The TWC reviews the budget request and determines the amount of funding to be granted to AC for the training. The grant simply allows the college to recover its costs. The company doesn't pay anything so long as trainees who complete the program are paid the prevailing wage for their occupation in the local labor market.
Amarillo College is the region's primary provider of workforce training, and it serves area business and industry well by developing programs to meet their specific needs. For example, when several companies recently established new customer service call center operations in Amarillo, AC moved quickly to implement a customer service curriculum to train people in the skills needed for that burgeoning field. When Bell Helicopter Textron chose to locate their Aircraft Assembly Center in Amarillo, Amarillo College took a lead role in forming the Bell Employee Training Alliance (BETA), a consortium of organizations brought together to provide Bell with a ready supply of fully trained workers for years to come.
The Panhandle Regional Planning Commission is a voluntary association of cities, counties, and special districts in the Texas Panhandle which consists of the top 26 counties in the state of Texas. The PRPC has 11 programs to improve the quality of life for individuals or organizations in the Panhandle region.
There are more than 25 colleges and universities in the Texas Panhandle region. People in our area are intelligent, skilled, and most importantly, ready to go to work.
Public schools and institutions have taught Amarillo people well, and continue to stay dedicated to quality education for students of all ages and walks of life. Local businesses benefit directly from the community's strong emphasis on learning.
In 2000, 79% of people age 18 and over in Amarillo had graduated from high school, and 20% had college degrees. Students in Amarillo's public schools consistently score higher than both the state and national averages on the SAT. Approximately 2,300 students graduate from Amarillo metro area high schools each year, and about 5,000 graduate each year from schools throughout the Amarillo region.
Approximately 1,230 people receive degrees each year from West Texas A&M University, and more than 260 of those are master's degrees.
Amarillo College (AC) enrolls more than 10,000 in credit programs annually, and graduates more than 900 each academic year. Some 700 students enroll in technical programs at AC every year.
EDUCATION ATTAINMENT OF POPULATION