New program allows students to receive real-world training while earning college credit

(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Texas State Technical College will provide Brownwood High School students a chance to experience real-world training while earning college credit.

The 3M Manufacturing and Academic Partnerships (MAP) program, which will begin in the fall of 2020, will allow students to study a career in manufacturing. The MAP partnership between TSTC, 3M and Brownwood Independent School District was unveiled in February to the public and local officials.

TSTC Brownwood Associate Provost Raquel Mata said the goal for the 2020 school year is to have students take dual enrollment classes. By 2021, Mata’s goal is to implement an associate of applied science degree curriculum in Industrial Systems at the Brownwood campus.

TSTC received a grant from the 3M Foundation to purchase MecLab Trainers that will be used in the program. The Brownwood 3M plant manufactures reflective sheeting for highway signs, license plates, protective clothing and security laminates.

Through the MAP program, Brownwood High School students will have the chance to learn the basics of creating and using schematic designs, circuit diagrams and technical drawings; building models; creating simulations; and developing and constructing electronic and pneumatic circuits.

“I think this is a fantastic opportunity for our students to get exposed to career pathways they typically would not look at,” said Ray Tipton, executive director of the Brownwood Municipal Development District. “This is a partnership that is innovative and outside of the box.”

Mata hopes other industries in the Brownwood area get involved.

“This program is set up to replenish our workforce,” she said. “This is a good partnership for TSTC, Brownwood ISD and 3M. I look forward to its future.”

Tipton said that after learning of the grant opportunity, his first call was to TSTC.

 “I think this is a program that will change kids’ lives,” Tipton said.

After nearly a year of planning, TSTC and Brownwood High School are ready to start the program, but expansion to other school districts is possible.

“I would like to see other schools in our area, Bangs and Early, take part in the program,” Mata said.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.