Please join us in congratulating NC3’s March School on the Rise, Hill College in Hillsboro, Texas! Hill College is an incredible example of how passionate and dedicated instructors can have a major impact on students in small communities.
As one of NC3’s first Leadership Schools, Hill College has become a leading force within the NC3 Network, offering a staggering 57 Certifications and certifying nearly 1,000 students in their community from Snap-on, Lincoln Electric, and Trane.
Hill College students have the opportunity to earn an incredible amount of certifications during their time in school. Jerry Hampton, Automotive Program Coordinator states,
“Students can leave Hill College and earn at least 20 certifications during the two years that they’re here. Our students have really enjoyed the extra training that they might not be able to get somewhere else.”
He continues, “Our students enjoy learning something they’ve seen before and can relate to. For instance, many of our students have stepped foot in a tire shop and have seen the employees torque but don’t realize how the practical skills apply until they learn it in our classes.”
The instructors at Hill College also recognize what a difference technical certifications can make for their students who are entering the workforce. Devin Lewis, Industrial Maintenance Program Coordinator explains,
“When you’ve got a certification that says Starrett or Snap-on on a resume, even if the employer knows nothing about this program but can see those recognizable names, they’re automatically aware that this applicant knows what they’re doing and trusts that they know how to use the tools.”
He continues, “In my experience, when you’re working in a factory or an industrial maintenance facility, everyone in charge has a degree and if you want a seat at the table, you need a piece of paper that says you are qualified.” Jerry extends that sentiment by adding how increasingly important it is for students to earn technical training at Hill College. He says,
“Our advisory board services many other schools in our area and they’ve noticed that students from schools that don’t offer industry certifications are not as well qualified for the jobs they’re pursuing.”
Technical training, especially in Texas where the technical industry is growing rapidly, gives students the edge they need to rise above the competition. Jerry remarks on the increasing necessity for higher education. He states, “We have dual credit here at Hill College so we get high school students as well as college-aged students. Several of the superintendents in our area would like for their students to have an associate’s degree by the time they graduate high school. Since 2005, they’ve been saying that in the next 20-25 years, 65% of jobs out there are going to require a minimum of an associate’s degree and 20% of jobs are going to require a 4-year degree. They all recognize that students need a college education of some sort and our programs are more of a necessity now than they’ve ever been.”
Hill College’s CTE program has grown significantly since its onset in 2010. Jerry reflects,
“The program we have now has really come a long way since we started. When I came here, it was practically a hobby shop. We changed the structure of the program and created new curriculum, implemented NC3 Certifications, and really turned it into a strong program. We can only go up from here because there is so much opportunity in our area.”
Adding to that, he remarks on what an impact NC3’s Train-the-Trainer events have had on his teaching abilities. Jerry states, “Train-the-Trainer helped me learn and expand my capabilities in using the machinery and gave me better ideas about how to teach my students differently. The more ways you understand how to teach something, the more opportunities you have to teach a student that may not be getting it.”
Being located in a small-scale community like Hillsboro has also had a positive influence on Hill College’s classroom dynamics. Devin explains,
“To me, it feels like a family here. I’ve got a small program and small classes. I’ve got all my students in my phonebook. It’s small enough that I know everyone, I know where they’re working after graduation, and it’s a friendly environment. I feel like we’re able to give them a very personalized education and I love that about Hill College.”
So, what’s on the horizon for Hill College? Jerry and Devin both have aspirations to expand their programs and bring in even more students. Devin says, “I would love to expand into a dual enrollment program with the local high schools. We have a lot of opportunities for work here and it would be great to catch the interest of those younger students so they can get a job that will last them a lifetime.”
We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for them. Their drive and commitment towards bettering the lives of students is an inspiration to all within Career and Technical Education!
Congratulations again to Hill College for earning the designation of NC3’s March 2021 School on the Rise!
Stay tuned for our next School on the Rise recipient in April 2021!
Questions about NC3’s School on the Rise? Please contact Erika Staackmann, Customer Success Coordinator, 847.533.6985, Erika.Staackmann@nc3.net