Council To Advise A&M System, Blinn College On Programs At RELLIS

COLLEGE STATION, Texas —Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp delivered a charge Monday to the members of the newly formed RELLIS External Academic Advisory Council, asking for input as The Texas A&M University System designs enhanced workforce training programs to be taught at the System’s RELLIS Campus.

Along with Blinn College, the A&M System agreed earlier this year to create a partnership dedicated to offering expanded education and training programs in the Brazos Valley. The System is seeking advice and recommendations from the advisory council about forming programs that would meet the needs of Texas and the eight-county region. The eight counties include Brazos, Robertson, Leon, Grimes, Milam, Washington, Burleson and Madison counties.

“I am certain that the advisory council will provide the System with valuable insight,” Chancellor Sharp said. “Together, we will make sure our region gets the highly trained workforce it needs to flourish.”

The System also charged the advisory council with exploring opportunities for applied research and development collaboration between higher education institutions and industries in the region. Further, Chancellor Sharp asked the council to consider other ways to support the academic initiatives at RELLIS and the students studying there.

Hunter Goodwin, the chairman of the advisory council, said he looks forward to helping implement degree, certification, and training programs at RELLIS that will have the potential to be significant economic drivers for the region.

“Students graduating from programs at RELLIS will have a step up on other graduates because of the ability to stack credentials at one location,” said Goodwin, who also is president and COO of Bryan, Texas-based Oldham Goodwin Group, LLC. “I am excited to be working on an academic project in which all of the participants are collaborating to the benefit of the students and the state.”

Dr. Mary Hensley, President/CEO of Blinn College added: “Working collaboratively with our business and academic partners, we can deliver the workforce needed for greater economic development of the region as we provide a benefit for our students.”

Through the discussion of the Advisory Council, potential opportunities were identified including creating programs in: education; healthcare; business; retail trade; accommodation and food services; and the construction trades. Members of the council also talked about developing a well-rounded building maintenance technician training program.

The group also discussed the longer-term opportunity of coordinating with local school districts and economic development councils to help young people develop the basic skills needed by industry. A committee will be formed in the next four to six weeks to begin working with school districts and economic development councils.

RELLIS – an acronym for the Aggie core values of Respect, Excellence, Leadership, Loyalty, Integrity and Selfless Service – will be home to innovative research that will be conducted by three of the A&M System’s state agencies: the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) and the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX). The 2,000-acre campus will offer a place for testing, research and training. There also will be classrooms, test tracks and dedicated research areas. Both the A&M System and Blinn College already have begun construction of facilities.

About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $4.2 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities and seven state agencies, the Texas A&M System educates more than 140,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $946 million in FY 2015 and helped drive the state’s economy.

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