Workforce programs said positive

Workforce training at Howard College has been underway for quite some time and seems to be continuing to do well, local officials said this past week. Jimmy Hobdy, director of workforce training at Howard College, presented an update regarding the program during a meeting of the Big Spring Economic Development Corporation. “We are serving the community through this program in different aspects we didn’t perceive,” Hobdy said. The program now has five 3D printers and is expanding its welding program. Certification has been received recognizing Howard College as a global trainer in rope rescue certification. The fall semester will include classes in green construction technology. “There have been several local businesses that are not only hiring workers from the program, but are also using the program training,” BSEDC Executive Director Terry Wegman said. Statistics for the last quarter show there were 77 students enrolled in 118 courses. Out of those students, four obtained jobs due to their training in the program and 11 new jobs have been created. Other business at the meeting included a review of the April financials and investment report. According to Rodney Bomar, BSEDC secretary/treasurer, the year over year sales tax showed an increase of 12 percent. The report also included comparison of area sales tax as well. “It is interesting to see how West Texas is doing compared to other places,” Wegman said. “The numbers show we seem to be holding our own pretty well.”The meeting concluded with the director’s report which provided updates on the Big Spring Rail Line. According to Wegman, Transport Handling Specialists continue to move forward with development of the short line rail, which will be serving the Big Spring Industrial Park. A grant that will provide funding for a dental clinic, optometry clinic and pharmacy has been received by the Howard County Community Health Center. Another addition to the clinic this summer will be a permanent MD. Job creation, payroll and labor compensation were also addressed by Wegman. “BSEDC will be participating in a labor compensation and benefit survey this summer which will help us better understand the labor market in the Permian Basin,” Wegman said. “The survey will be used to help existing business better understand what is needed to compete for skilled workers in this growing economy and provide information to prospective businesses wishing to locate here on the supply and cost for labor.”Contact Staff Writer Amanda Moreno at 263-7331 ext. 234 or by e-mail at