Students show U.S. Secretary of Labor workforce training at San Jacinto College
08.26.2014 | By Jeannie Peng-Armao
U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez recently visited San Jacinto College, where he turned valves with students in the process technology pilot plant, assisted with a crying SimBaby, and watched a student run an IP scan from the College's system.
Secretary Perez was on a pre Labor Day tour across the country to visit with workers, employers, and community leaders to discuss workforce training and the economy. He shared his experience as he went along on Instagram using the hashtag #FindYourPath.
"At my last stop in the Houston area, I enjoyed meeting nursing students at San Jacinto College - and learning about infant care," noted Secretary Perez on his page. "The program received Labor Department funding to prepare people for good jobs in growing health care fields. The college's partnerships with area employers help students find employment when they have completed their training."
U.S. Congressman Gene Green (D-Texas), State Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood), State Rep. Ana Hernandez (D-Houston), and State Rep. Mary Ann Perez (D-Pasadena), along with industry partners, members of the San Jacinto College Board of Trustees, and Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer were also in attendance for the San Jacinto College tour. It was an unforgettable moment for students, as San Jacinto College placed them in the driver's seat to show Secretary Perez the College’s training in the high-demand industries of health care, energy, and IT.
"This was definitely a highlight for me," said Michael Jones, who showed Secretary Perez a basic IP scan, which is the first step in any hacking activity that identifies a target. Jones works in secure networking and IT security with the United States Army National Guard. He received free training in the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) course and the certified ethical hacker course with funds from the Technology Training for Tomorrow (IT3) grant, funded through the Department of Labor. "I enjoyed representing the school and letting Secretary Perez know what the IT3 program did for me. It helped me maintain my employment and secure my position as an IT security instructor."
Secretary Perez was given a hard hat for student Maurissia Carter's part of the tour, where the military veteran had the Secretary weave in and around pipelines in the process technology pilot plant. She explained to Secretary Perez why she chooses to drive 45 minutes each day to San Jacinto College for training in the energy industry.
"I want a career, a place that I can work, move up the ranks, and retire," said Carter. "I want to be a part of the oil and gas industry because it's amazing to me how products that we use in our everyday lives are produced."
Carter gave Secretary Perez an overview of the jobs of plant operators and showed him how to open a new valve safely to reroute chemicals without stopping production.
"I must say, it was a surreal feeling at first, showing the Secretary what I've learned," said Carter. "To me, this is about people working together. It's about profession and education coming together to make sure the students come out successful."
In addition, Secretary Perez toured the College’s nursing department, where he observed training and simulation equipment funded by the Department of Labor Healthcare Pathways grant. “It was a wonderful experience, showing him the training we received at the College. It prepared me for what I’m doing now as a nurse,” said Destiny Hellyer, a San Jacinto College graduate who now works as a nurse at the University of Texas Medical Branch.
The Secretary also toured instrumentation technology and spoke with students about their training for careers in the high-demand energy industry.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 credit students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career and workforce preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.