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BC’s ATX Jumpstart program offers GED option

BC’s ATX Jumpstart program offers GED option

Thu Feb 2, 2017

For many people, two of the biggest obstacles to gaining entry into specialized industrial jobs are lack of education and no affordable job training. For those facing this dilemma, Brazosport College has a potential solution.

In response to the high demands for skilled workers, Brazosport College is offering a free 15-week program for individuals who lack a high school diploma or GED. The program is funded by an Accelerate Texas (ATX) grant and students completing the program are not only prepared to take their GED test, they also earn nine-college credit hours, a Marketable Skills Award from Brazosport College, an NCCER Core Curriculum and Blue Card, and an NCCER Level 1 Helper Certification in either pipefitting, electrical or millwright.

Brazosport College’s ATX Jumpstart program will begin registration on for the spring semester on Dec. 1. To learn more about the program, information sessions will be held from 12 to 1 p.m. in room B110 at the College on Nov. 29, Dec. 6 and Dec. 13.

The ATX Jumpstart program has provided affordable job training for many students. Below are a few examples:

JORGE RAMOS

Jorge came to Brazosport College with one goal — to get into the school’s GED program. What he found, however, were the first steps toward a possible career in an industrial field, and he could earn his GED at the same time.

Jorge discovered the school’s free industry-training program, Jumpstart, which has trained students for possible entry-level careers in the pipefitting, millwright or electrical fields. Funded by an Accelerate Texas Grant, the program also provides preparation for the GED test.

For Jorge, it was an easy decision to join the Jumpstart program. In fact, he was so confident in BC that he was willing to drive from Pearland four days a week in order to participate in the classes. He recently completed the program and is getting ready to take his GED test.

“This program was even better than I expected it to be,” Jorge said. “When they told me about pipefitting, I knew I had to do it. It can be a far drive, and it was hard at times with the car I have, but I had to make the commitment. This was giving me a chance to improve my life.”

Jorge has enjoyed his time at BC so much that he’s considering returning for even more education in the future.

“This has been a very good experience and I hope to come back,” Jorge said. “Get a certificate, maybe even a degree. I just want to keep improving my life.”

LEVI PATTON

Levi Patton wanted a career, but the odds were stacked against him.

Actually, it’s never easy for someone like Levi, who dropped out of high school during his junior year. It doesn’t matter that the reason for quitting school was to provide for his newborn daughter, a lack of both a high school diploma and also job-skills training serves as a double-shot of challenges that are hard to overcome when seeking a potential career.

The one advantage Levi had, however, was a strong work ethic and a will to succeed. Brazosport College’s ATX Jumpstart program was a perfect choice for him.

“It really helped me a lot,” Levi said. “My cousin, James Bergeron, was also in it, and he graduated too. It’s great when you can get the skills to get a job and a GED at basically the same time.”

But Levi couldn’t just go to school because he had a family to support. To make ends meet, he went to school four days a week, while also working three jobs. In addition to school, he spent Fridays and Saturdays at a tire shop, Sundays at an air conditioning business and five nights a week working overnight at a department store.

He admits it was a long 15 weeks, but it was worth it, as he now has a solid job in the pipefitting field.

“The amount of pay has been incredible for us,” Levi said. “Before, I was living paycheck to paycheck. I didn’t have a high school education, so I couldn’t get into the plants. Jumpstart allowed me the opportunity to go straight into the plant and make real money.

“Jumpstart can benefit anybody,” he added. “And it’s free. That makes everything a lot easier.” 

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To learn more about Brazosport College’s Accelerate Texas Jumpstart program, call (979) 230-3688 or e-mail ashley.bulanek@brazosport.edu.