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Friday afternoon saw the presentation of a $170,115 Skills Development Fund grant to J. Skinner Baking Co. and Paris Junior College by Hope Andrade, the Commissioner Representing Employers for the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).
Commissioner Andrade serves as the advocate for more than 485,000 Texas employers. In that role, she ensures that employers’ interests are considered in all Commission actions.
“To the employees of J. Skinner, congratulations to all of you, because it’s all about you,” said Andrade. “You are what makes these businesses successful. And this (grant) is for you, Mr. Coan, so you can continue making jobs for this community and continue investing in your employees so that they can improve their quality of life through better jobs. We come in person to congratulate you for the partnership, and if you haven’t heard this (to Dr. Anglin,), in this position I have been working closely with all the community colleges in the state and I am absolutely blown away with what you (PJC) are doing and I say thank you because you are truly a partner to this community to provide the jobs.”
Andrade referenced a recent study saying that 70 percent of the future workforce will come from community colleges. She commended the vital role played by PJC and said TWC would continue working closely with the college.
“The support of the community is what makes Paris such a strong community and we as J. Skinner are very proud to be part of this community to build and create a plant and bring a plant back up, bring our employees back in and support this community in so many different ways,” said Rodger Coan, plant manager for James Skinner Baking Company. “It’s the support of all the other industries and businesses in this town that makes that possible and also makes Paris as great as it is.”
“Thank you to all of our friends from other industries in town here to join J. Skinner and Paris Junior College,” said PJC President Dr. Pam Anglin, “it’s a great day for all of us.”
The funds will be used to train 107 existing Skinner employees with customized technical and safety training for the new production lines to prepare them for new plant operations. Those trained will include general production workers, plant sanitation and groundskeepers, and machine operators.
The courses will provide continuing education credit to the employees. Training done through Skills Development Grants differs from the regular workforce classes offered by Paris Junior College. Standard PJC classes award academic credit and follow a set curriculum. TWC’s grant program allows employers such as Skinner to customize the training directly for their needs. This type of training allows employees to earn a higher salary, and makes Skinner, this region and the State of Texas more economically competitive. When the workers have completed their training, they will earn an average hourly wage of $17.02. This is the initial training phase. PJC will provide more training based on additional TWC funding.
Businesses interested in a skills development grant should contact PJC at 903-782-0447.