Ivan Sparkman with Marathon Galveston Bay Refinery views a vibration analysis machine, which students in the College of the Mainland Mechanical Maintenance Technician Program will use while preparing for a career in industry. He and other industry representatives on the Texas City-La Marque Chamber of Commerce Leadership Council attended the first unveiling of the equipment.

Five mills, three lathes, rigging equipment and more add up to $347,210 in new equipment for College of the Mainland students training to become mechanical maintenance technicians.

The equipment mirrors what COM Mechanical Maintenance Program graduates will find in industry.

The college purchased the equipment after receiving the Jobs and Education for Texans Grant, awarded to COM and other community and technical colleges in Texas following a review process.

“We believe in training students on equipment they can expect on the job,” said COM Director of Continuing Education Industrial Workforce Programs Laura Baumgartner. “We are giving students entry-level skills for industry: hands-on training with mills and lathes so they can earn the basic mechanical maintenance certificate and get entry-level jobs. They can then continue on to intermediate and advanced certificates and more career options.”

The mechanical maintenance program trains students for high-skills, high-demand jobs with a median pay of $23.23 per hour according to Texas Workforce Commission data.

“There’s a growing need in industry for mechanical maintenance technicians. Industry representatives on the program advisory panel identify their needs and we prepare students,” said Baumgartner. “The goal is to support our existing industry, train experienced employees so they can compete and also train individuals looking for a career change.”

Receiving the JET Grant was possible through the industry support of A&A Machine and Fabrication LLC, Ashland Chemical Inc., BP Chemicals, CB&I, INEOS Olefins and Polymers USA, Marathon Petroleum and Universal Plant Services. Each company wrote letters to the state in support of this grant.
“Our relationships with the industries are valuable; we could not have received this grant without their support,” said Baumgartner.

For more information about the COM Mechanical Maintenance Program, visit www.com.edu/ce or call 409-933-8586.