Women in Industry Conference Turnout Exceeds Expectations


Some 468 area women packed into the North Ballroom of Galveston’s Hotel Galveston on Friday, Feb. 19, eager to learn about careers in the petrochemical and industrial trades industries.

The number far exceeded the expectations of conference planners for this first-ever event.

“It told us there are many capable women interested in well-paying, challenging careers in what were once male-dominated industries,” said Debi Jordan, spokesperson for the Community College Petrochemical Initiative (CCPI), which sponsored the event, along with several major industrial partners.

“Women came to learn about careers as process operators, instrumentation technicians, analytic techs, as well as welders, crane operators, electricians, and other skilled craft positions,” Jordan said. “They have read that industry is looking to hire more women, and they are stepping forward.”

During the morning, participants heard from women already working in the field. In the afternoon, they heard how to prepare for those careers, with information about how to train, network, interview, and succeed on the job.

Galena Park students

Students from Galena Park ISD pose after the Women in Industry Conference outside Hotel Galvez.


NASA’s Ginger Kerrick was the keynote speaker. Kerrick is a Flight Director in the Mission Control Center at the NASA Johnson Space Center, who has, to date, supported 13 International Space Station and five joint shuttle missions.

Her topic, “The Right Stuff,” echoed a major theme of the day-long event: that women with resolve, preparation and perseverance can succeed in any career they pursue.

Sponsors of the event were the area’s nine community colleges and CCPI members: Alvin Community College, Brazosport College, College of the Mainland, Galveston College, Houston Community College, Lee College, Lone Star College, San Jacinto College, and Wharton County Junior College.

Industry sponsors included ExxonMobil, Jacobs, LyondellBasell, Zachry, Chevron Phillips, Covestro, INEOS, Noltex, and Occidental Chemical.

Working as a Contractor

Work for yourself

If you are looking to start a career in pipeline fields or healthcare fields, you need to first consider financial coverage. Grants offer many financial options to cover the cost of school. Look for schools that offer the most need-based aid such as private schools boasting of large endowments or state-funded public universities. Look for grants that are awarded for things beyond need, such as field of study. You might benefit too from contacting the graduate school finance aid office and asking for any additional opportunities they have available or know are available from private sources.

There are certain graduate grants linked to specific functions such as those pursing a degree in a high-demand field or those pursing a medical degree. Then there are subject-specific grants for those who are highly qualified and pursuing a specific subject. Specific groups and minorities can capitalize upon grants designed to promote their cases.

Starting Your Career

Once you get your career started, you can begin to work for yourself as a contractor. Contracting work in professional fields like that of a plumber, electrician, or someone who manages heating and air conditioning mean you can get your own hours and work for yourself. It also means that other people can get ahold of you through a contracting website. Using an online contractor search, people in need of professionals can find the most qualified ones. People need help finding those contractors who are qualified, those who have the right educational parameters, and the right experience.

Using an Online Search Service

With an online search, people can find listings for the different types of contractors they need in their home. A homeowner or business, for example, might want to install an eco-friendly version of their heating and air conditioning system. To make these upgrades and comply with certain government regulations, they need an expert. But not just any expert. They want someone who has installed the same systems before. They want someone who has installed these systems on the same scale. They want people who have expert qualifications and some sort of education to support their work. Having a degree in the applicable field will make you stand out as one such person. With that degree, you can begin to acquire the work experience you need to get higher paid positions, to work with more advanced systems, and to be that one expert contractor that people and businesses look for online.

When you work as a contractor, you can set up information online that is easily found through a contractor search. You can work with third party websites and set up agreements where they post information perhaps like a CV or a phone number with working hours for appointment setting. With a third party website you can also send over customers who are happy with your work, and let them post reviews so that other potential customers can read them. All of this benefits the customers as much as it does the contractors, helping to separate good from bad.

 

Season Jobs Help University Students Achieve Their Education Goals

If you are a student and you are completely focused on finding a good job, you will have to look for those categories of jobs that are more promising for the next future. Actually, there are certain jobs that are seriously at risk. This means that those jobs may also disappear in the next 5 to 10 years.

Choose A Top Education Pattern

For many people finding the right field of study is a very hard job to do. Actually, there are several fields that look interesting, but that won’t offer many chances of finding a decent job.

It’s also true that not all places of the world feature the same employment conditions: for example, certain areas of the world seem to be more focused on season jobs than other areas.

If your goal is to become an important person in your future and you want to start up from a good job, university education is what you are looking for. Keep in mind that university is not so easy and that you will have to study seriously and for long hours in a row.

Help Yourself Complete University Studies

Moreover, university classes are often expensive – which is a basic reason why so many students at the university decide to take a part time or season job.

A temporary job is useful to keep your financial conditions in good shape and, in the same time, you can make your first experiences in the employment market, you can get a clue of what working with people means and of how many times you will have to improve yourself.

Some of the most attractive season jobs for many students during their university years are related to the casino world:

  • Security assistant
  • Accountant manager
  • Car dealer
  • Bar servers
  • Customer service employee

And many more job positions that you can find in the typical land based casinos of Las Vegas or even of other cities where the casino industry is well developed.

Most Attractive Real Money Gamesreal money casino game

The casino industry is today pretty well settled down in the internet, as well. So, you may even find a job position for a casino company which owns an online casino site. There are dozens of safe and verified casinos in the net that are owned by serious casino groups and companies.

Australia Casino is a very good source of information and news from the casino world. You can learn more about the most played games, the newest game trends and all tricks and advices to play better and win more often.

Roulette is one of the most chosen games for those who play real money casinos. Not only because roulette recalls the charming elegant environment of luxury European casinos, but also because its most attractive feature is that you can place multiple bets per game.

you can invent your own betting plan by choosing the game options that you prefer. There also specific things that you can learn on Australian Casino, as well as the best casinos that give the richest prizes and bonuses.

When Technical Education Can Make All The Difference In Life

For all young students education is a most essential part of life. Without a proper education, it’s actually very hard to be able to find a decent job. Today, a large number of people who are low-wagered have a low education – a sign which speaks itself about the importance of reaching a high level of education.

doctorMedical Jobs Today

One of the most targeted field of jobs by numerous students at the university is medicine. People need extremely advanced medical care and new researchers that are oriented to discover therapies for rare illnesses are also essential.

The future of medicine stays in the hands of young students who will, one day, make the difference thanks to their education and technical skills.

Wither you aim to become a nurse or a doctor, your efforts will be working to help save human lives, that’s what matters.

Helping People Is Priceless

Of course, we all know that when it comes to human support and help to people in serious need, every effort is, practically, priceless. And, what’s important, there are many different ways to support and help people, medicine is just one of the most common and primarily important sector.

Locksmiths – have you ever thought that locksmiths work for saving people from serious emergency situations like:

  • Accidental home fire
  • Home lockouts
  • Car lockouts
  • Repair of home or car doors and windows
  • Installation of cutting edge sophisticated security systems to protect people’s life

Locksmiths And Most Common Car Troublescar key

There are few most common car problems and emergencies that occur very often. In the US, every day, hundreds of people forget their car keys in the car trunk or lose the key somewhere… imagine how difficult it would be to face similar emergencies on your own!

By luck, the US is the most important Country in the world for high quality locksmith assistance.

24/7 Nationwide Locksmiths is an exceptional locksmith company, which is owner to several offices all through the States. Consider that according to this company’s locksmiths, the most common car emergencies are:

car trunkUnlocking A Car Trunk

Probably, you were carrying your suitcases in your car trunk and you were in a hurry. Or possibly, someone shut the car trunk without to know that the keys fell inside it…. no matter how or why, when you realize that your car keys are missing it’s already too late!

Car lockouts are some of the most stressful situations and, unexpectedly, also the most complicated to fix. That’s important that you call the right professionals who can use the most advanced and appropriate tools to help you get back on the road.

Car locksmiths can unlock your car trunk without using a key and, what’s important, in a very short span of time, so that you won’t be that late with your appointments.

How Much More Can I Earn with an Associate Degree?

Community College Isn’t Just a Stepping Stone

For many people, the community college experience is a major step toward improving their quality of life. Every semester, students of backgrounds ranging from recent high school graduates to adults continuing their education enroll in community colleges across the country to start their journeys to great careers. But, what if I told you that the journey isn’t as long as you think, and that some of the best returns on your investment come with an associate’s degree?nurse

If you’re skeptical about the idea that earning an associate’s degree alone can improve your ability to be competitive in the work force, then consider a few points. A person with an associate degree earns on average $15,200 more each year throughout the course of a working lifetime than someone with only a high school diploma. Community colleges tend to offer associate degrees and certification programs related to industries in their areas. At TGCCCC, we work with businesses and organizations within our region so we can offer the programs and training that help our students land jobs in their respective industries.

Gulf Coast Jobs for A.S. Degrees

In the past year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a list with the top 20 highest paying occupations with an associate degree, with positions ranging from about $50,000 to more than $120,000 in median annual salary. It’s estimated that around 1.6 million new and replacement jobs will be added in the Gulf Coast region by 2020, and these positions will be centered on the healthcare, skilled labor, petrochemical, and technology industries that are growing and flourishing in our region.

The tuition and fees for the average campus-based or online associate degree program average around $5,000 for two years of study. While earning your associate degree at a community college, you’ll have the flexibility to take as many or as few classes as you want, with no penalty for not meeting the status of full-time student. That gives you ultimate flexibility for your work or family commitments. An associate degree education from a community college opens doors for your future at a fraction of the cost of a bachelor’s degree from a four-year university. En spilleautomat er altså en maskin der en spiller, etter å ha satset en viss mengde penger, får tilgang til et visst antall spill casinonorske.com.

One of the great things about making your way through the journey of life is that you never stop learning, whether that’s inside the classroom or out. We know that some of you may choose to return to the classroom later after earning you’re A.S. to pursue a bachelor’s and grow your skillset and advancement opportunities. And, those hours you spent on the associate degree transfer to state universities to apply to your four-year degree. With an associate degree, you’ve taken an important step toward a better career and more opportunities that you simply don’t have with just a high school diploma or GED.

By investing in an associate degree at a community college, you’ll receive the education you deserve from faculty who have worked in the field and can help you become career-ready in an intimate setting. We hope you choose to further your education at a Texas Gulf Coast Community College.

How a 1-Year Certificate Turned into a Dream Job for a San Jacinto College Student

Robin Coto turned a one-year certificate from San Jacinto College into a dream job.

Coto has come a long way in a short time, starting out as a painter’s helper and working his way up to a management position at Penske’s Houston regional collision repair center. The center provides collision repair services for all Penske lease vehicles for the entire Gulf Coast region.

Coto earned an occupational certificate in automotive collision repair technology from San Jacinto College in 2007, and shortly afterwards was hired in an entry-level position at Penske. With technical skills and enthusiasm, he went from painter’s helper to lead painter in a matter of months. He had dreamed of such a job, and he was determined to excel.

“I always enjoyed working with cars and trucks,” Coto commented. “In high school, after painting my first car, I knew at that moment that is what I wanted to do.”

Auto bodywork is a specialized, skilled craft, and Coto knew that to go far would require training.

“I chose San Jacinto College because I had heard their training was top notch and very hands-on,” he said. “Glen Kirkwood, collision repair instructor at the North Campus, interacts well with students and keeps them engaged. He would explain to us students how to do paint and bodywork, but he would not do the work for us. We would have to learn through experience. I think that’s why the program is so successful.”

Coto has been doing vehicle bodywork for 12 years now. He especially likes working as production manager at the Penske collision repair center, which services a wide range of vehicles, from trucks and vans to large 18-wheeler rigs. Kirkwood is proud of the way Coto has applied himself and rapidly advanced.

“What’s really impressive is how Robin has adapted to a different style of bodywork,” he commented. “Our program does not specifically train to do bodywork on larger vehicles like 18-wheelers, which requires working with quite a few different tools and techniques. It shows how our students can excel if they are willing to grow and continue to learn.”

A large percentage of the employees at the Penske collision repair shop are San Jac Certified, having graduated from the San Jacinto College auto collision repair program.

“When possible, I try to hire a San Jac graduate when a new position comes open,” commented Coto. “They are well trained, dedicated, and have enthusiasm. They want to learn new techniques and are eager to keep up with new trends and developments. That’s a good work ethic.”

Coto’s training in auto collision repair has led to other unexpected dividends.

“Some colleagues and I started a used-car sales business,” he said. “We buy cars at auction, I do body repair work and do some body customizing, and we then offer the vehicles for sale. Not long after start-up, the business was turning a profit.”

Graduates of San Jacinto College’s auto collision technology program generally have no problem finding jobs. During the past five years, the job placement rate for graduates has been 90 percent or higher. The pay scale is generally above average compared to other skilled craft jobs. According to the Texas Workforce Commission Texas Cares website, the median annual wage in the Gulf Coast region for auto body technicians is $42,432.

“Considering that a person with only one year of college training can be earning around $42,000 not long after graduation, I think that is very impressive,” commented Eddie Foster, North Campus industrial technology department chair. “That’s as good as some career fields that require four-year college degrees.”

San Jacinto College offers automotive collision repair technology courses and degree options at the North Campus. For more information, please visit sanjac.edu/career/auto-collision-repair.

43 Community College Students Receive Petrochemical Scholarships

With the Gulf Coast area petrochemical industry needing more than 50,000 new workers within the decade, the nine community colleges of TGCCCC have set out to find and train this “next generation” of skilled workers, enabled by a grant from the ExxonMobil Foundation.

Now in its third year, the Community College Petrochemical Initiative (CCPI) has spread the word across the region that salaries in this expanding industry average $99,700.  It’s not surprising that enrollments in training programs are growing significantly.

On Thursday, Aug. 13, representatives from all nine partnering colleges and ExxonMobil met in the Nolan Ryan Center on the Alvin Community College campus to present more than $60,000 in scholarships to 43 selected students.

CCPI Scholarship Recipients

Representatives from nine community colleges and ExxonMobil gathered for a photo with recipients of the 2015 CCPI scholarship in the Nolan Ryan Center in Alvin, Texas, following a luncheon for the recipients.

Students heard a rousing message from the manager of the ExxonMobil Baytown Olefins Plant, Woody Paul, who reminded students that, while their backgrounds and stories may differ, each one is seeking to improve their lives through careers in the petrochemical industry. He applauded their discipline, tenacity, and determination as they juggled career training with family and current jobs.

In all, ExxonMobil has contributed more than $1.5 million towards training skilled new workers. This is the second consecutive year that CCPI and ExxonMobil have brought together new recipients to present scholarships and encourage them in their educational pursuits.

2015 CCPI Scholarship Recipients

From Alvin Community College:

  • Joshua Huerta, Process Technology
  • Matthew Mitchell, Process Technology
  • Shemilore Oguntoye, Process Technology
  • Robert Robinson, Process Technology

From Brazosport College:

  • Mark Morales, Process Technology
  • Hong To, Welding Technology

From College of the Mainland:

  • Christine Guevara, Process Technology
  • Byron Howard, Process Technology
  • Danny Magee, Jr., Process Technology
  • Robert Ware, Mechanical Maintenance Technology

From Galveston College:

  • Frank Ross, Electrical and Electronics Technology
  • Samantha Weber, Electrical and Electronics Technology
  • Angelica Yanez, Electrical and Electronics Technology

From Houston Community College:

  • Samson Akinlade, Engineering
  • Johnathan Barra, Electrician Technology
  • Victor Lopez, Welding Technology
  • Vaibhav Patel, Drafting and Design Technology
  • Binh Pham, Drafting and Design Technology
  • Tuyen Le, Engeineering Technology

From Lee College:

  • Javier Barajas, Instrumentation
  • Blake Bogie, Process Technology
  • Eleazar Cantu, Pipe Design Technology
  • Lawrence Daniel, Process Technology
  • Ellis Dorrance, Instrumentation
  • Marisela Puente, Process Technology
  • Martin Resendez, CADD

From Lone Star College:

  • Justin Cassaro, Automated Manufacturing
  • Said Charouch, Petroleum Data Technology
  • Milton Edwards, Automated Manufacturing
  • Laura Gimenez, Chemical Engineering
  • Stephen Hilliard, Welding Technology
  • Shannon Lee, Petroleum Data Technology

From San Jacinto College:

  • Jonathan Gallo, Instrumentation
  • Gladys Jackson, Process Technology
  • Laura Plazibat, Process Technology
  • Austen Riche, Process Technology

From Wharton County Junior College:

  • Heather Bannert, Process Technology
  • Dillon Baumgarten, Process Technology
  • Brian Hausler, Process Technology
  • Carl Jones, Process Technology
  • Matthew Krenek, Process Technology
  • Willie Walker, Process Technology
  • Dakota Wallace, Process Technology

You Can Afford to Go to College

TGCCCC Petrochemical DegreesEverybody can afford to go to college, now. It’s true! You might have to do some planning, be really smart with your money, and commit to getting good grades so you don’t waste your money. But, Texas community colleges can pave the way for you to earn a degree in just two years that will get you a great salary … at less than the cost of a used economy car.

If you watch or read news, it’s no secret that rising tuition, student debt loans that can take years to pay off, and a questionable economy have made many people scared to pursue higher education. What many people don’t realize about college, though, is that it is not a one-size-fits-all plan. A variety of options exist for students from all walks of life and with differing interests and career goals.

And, in Texas, the economy and population are growing at a rate faster than the rest of the U.S., offering fantastic career prospects in technology, infrastructure, manufacturing, oil and gas/petrochemical, education, and healthcare. Research the jobs being created in your community and see how they compare to your interests, then start thinking about what education you need to get the job you want.

Many students choose the path of a college education at a four-year public or private university and moving away from home. And, those students are often the ones who end up in the dire news stories.

Have a Game Plan
for Your Education

Whether you are soon to be graduating high school or re-entering school to continue your education, there are several things everyone should do to prepare.

For High School Students:

  • Ensure you are in good academic standing with your counselor and on track to graduate.
  • Ensure with your counselor that all necessary Texas Assessment of Knowledge & Skills (TAKS) and State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) testing is complete.
  • Ensure your SAT and/or ACT scores qualify you for college-level work and enrollment.

For Non-High School Graduates:

  • Take the General Education Development (GED) test to qualify for enrollment.
  • Complete College Readiness Standard tests for college-level aptitude in basic subjects.

For many others, a combination of finances, time, work outside of school, and family responsibilities may prevent them from being able to have that “traditional” college experience. At Texas Gulf Coast Community Colleges, we want to break each of these down and help you understand what you will get out of your experience at our campuses and that “traditional” doesn’t always mean better.

Finances

First, we will start with finances by themselves, since they are a critical issue for people who are exploring a college education. At a private university, tuition and fees alone can cost $8,000 to $20,000 each semester. On the other hand, the cost of two years at a public university in Texas could cost upwards of $17,800. Over time this is less than what you would pay at a private university, but doesn’t include books, supplies, and room and board costs for a four-year university education, which come in addition to normal tuition and fees.

At a community college, tuition and fees for school start as low as $820 per semester. In addition to the lower price tag of community colleges, they also offer more financial assistance and flexibility than a four-year university. Many students are even eligible for federal grants covering some or all tuition and fees, grants for which do not need to be paid back. In fact, 35 percent of Texas college students qualify for and receive the federal Pell Grant each year. With these financial aid options, many students are able to complete two years of courses at a community college before transferring to a university, easing the financial burden of paying for school on the way to their bachelor’s degree.

Time

Second, we will address time, work outside of school, and family responsibilities together as one. Community college is a great option for students who must work to pay for school, as well as for older adults who want to further their education. Community colleges offer open enrollment year-round, allowing you to take a flexible number of hours each semester with no penalty, in addition to offering evening and weekend classes. At a community college, it is entirely possible to work fulltime, take classes, and have time with your family each week while still receiving a quality education.

Work

Now that you’ve seen the differences, you’re probably asking “Where can a community college education lead me?”

Graduates with technical certificates and associate degrees are in high demand. You probably did not know that nearly half of all Texas college students – some 700,000 people – enrolled in community college. This number is greater than the state’s public university, private university, and medical institutions combined. Many of these students are pursuing two-year degrees in fields related to the state’s booming energy, medical, and IT industries. A two-year associate degree can qualify you to go to work immediately in the healthcare industry or petrochemical industry, where you can earn $40,000 to $100,000+ annually.

We encourage everyone to choose the path that works best for themselves. At Texas Gulf Coast Community Colleges, we hope you choose to consider the possibilities and make us part of your path. Find out more about registering now to attend your local community college.

Biomedical Technicians Needed for Texas Healthcare

In today’s world, advancements in medical technology have enabled better diagnosis, surgical procedures and improved patient care. With the rising demand for healthcare services and the increased complexity of biomedical equipment, this field has a great job outlook for people with training.bmet

If you are interested in the healthcare industry, yet not particularly fond of blood or surgical procedures, biomedical technician is one of the few healthcare jobs appropriate for squeamish people. It is an exciting and stimulating career that combines knowledge from various fields, such as engineering, biology and bio-mechanical principles to design, develop, repair and maintain biological and health systems and products. In particular, the duties of a biomedical technician include testing parts, calibrating equipment, performing maintenance, and keeping repair logs of medical devices, such as monitors, imaging equipment and operating tables.

Biomedical technician jobs require working flexible hours under some pressure. Similar to other healthcare jobs, technicians sometimes have to work “on call” in case of emergencies when medical equipment needs immediate repair. They are also encouraged to stay updated on current medical technology, because the healthcare industry is increasingly dependent on the advancement of medical equipment to extend lives and improve patient treatment.

BMET – Biomedical Equipment Technician & Biomedical Electronics Technician

Two main specializations in the biomedical technician field are Biomedical Equipment Repair Technician and Biomedical Electronics Specialist. Both are responsible for testing, troubleshooting, maintaining and repairing general biomedical equipment in laboratories, healthcare facilities, and other personal care institutions. While a biomedical electronics specialist focuses more on handling and working with electronic devices themselves, a biomedical equipment technician can facilitate training sessions on medical equipment.

 

Employment of BMETs, similar to other healthcare jobs, is projected to grow much higher than the average job growth across industries, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics. With a two-year associate degree, a biomedical technician salary can be more than $40,000 annually to start, according to our BMET factsheet.

How to Become a Certified Biomedical Technician?

Entrance to biomedical technician jobs typically requires a biomedical technician associate degree specializing in either biomedical electronics or biomedical equipment technician. The associate program provides coursework in biomedical electronic systems, biomedical law, digital circuits, and clinical instrumentation. Additionally, laboratory experiences offer hands-on opportunities to repair and maintain medical equipment, allowing students to explore a collaborative field between healthcare and technology.

Upon graduation, students can get an internship or land a full time job in hospitals, clinics or companies that manufacture medical equipment and devices – based on their preferences for the healthcare or technology side.

While certification is not required by all employers, it can demonstrate professional capability and help people advance to supervisory positions. One of the most popular certifications for biomedical technician jobs is Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician (CBET) offered by the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI). In order to be certified, biomedical technicians must have an associate degree, professional working experience, and pass their exam.

If you are interested in the intersection of technology and healthcare, visit our biomedical page for available programs and start your biomedical profession now!

Student Success Story – Cameron Erskin, College of the Mainland

Dual credit student is new face of Taco Bell

Cameron Erskin views each critic’s cry of “you can’t” as a challenge. Determined to be the first in his family to graduate from college, the College of the Mainland dual credit student has already earned 18 hours of college credit, a scholarship and a national platform to tell his story.Cameron_Erskin_1

One of three teens chosen as spokesperson for the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens, Erskin will encourage students to complete high school and will be featured on Taco Bell products at franchises across the nation. Erskin recently returned from a California conference where he shared his story with a crowd of 1,600.

“Trials and tribulations kind of made me who I am. I’ve had so many people tell me ‘you can’t do this, you won’t do this,’” said Erskin. “I’ve had people who claim to support me tell me that, but now they are among the biggest fans.”

While always a good student, the Clear Springs High School senior found new determination after joining the Boys and Girls Club of America.

“The Boys and Girls Club really tries to push them. They do a lot of service projects,” said his mother, Meshell Vorsburgh. “I couldn’t be more proud of him.”

After joining the club, he volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, served food at St. Vincent’s Episcopal House in Galveston and mentored middle and high school students at Power Hour.

His Boys and Girls Club mentor of five years, Carol Freeman, discovered the Taco Bell Skills Challenge Scholarship and worked with him until 2 a.m. completing it. He won that scholarship and eight months later received the call asking him to become a face of Taco Bell. He said yes.

Erskin credits his drive to pursue an education to two women in his life – Freeman and his mother.

“The importance of education was instilled in me since I was young.  I’ve always had big dreams. I knew that to achieve my dreams and goals I had to go to college,” he remembered. “My mom made me have a ‘dream board’ (of goals) when I was 10 or 11. She took it a step further. She made me do a six-month, one-year and five-year plan.”

At 18, Erskin is still armed with a plan – to graduate with a master’s degree in architecture in three years. Determined to reach this ambitious goal, he began taking dual credit classes at COM and plans to take a full load of courses year-round at Prairie View A&M University.

He’ll start June 8, the day after his graduation from Clear Springs High School, when he heads to Prairie View A&M University. He will take summer classes at the school’s Architectural Concepts Institute.

Now in a whirlwind of activity between finishing classes and graduation, he will travel to the national Taco Bell franchise conference to once again share his story.

“My mother has always taught me to ‘lift (others) as you climb,’” said Erskin. “I’m climbing and lifting as many people with me as I can.”

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