From left: Chris DeVault, Goodman Manufacturing vice president of human resources; Paul Long, Daikin Industries director of learning and development; Terrance Lindsey, Daikin Industries; Kristi Pittman, Daikin Industries vice- president of human resources; Ruth Hughs, Texas Workforce Commission chair and commissioner; Dr. Alton Smith, chair of Lone Star College board of trustees; and Dr. Stephen C. Head, Lone Star College chancellor.

Lone Star College has been awarded a $968,537 grant from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) to focus on the skilled workforce shortage. The grant will be used to help Daikin Industries train 415 current employees and hire an additional 115 employees.

“Lone Star College is one the leaders in workforce training and we understand the importance and impact our training has on the local economy,” said Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., LSC chancellor. “This relationship with Daikin Industries is very important to us.”

Daikin is the World's No. 1 air conditioning company and operates the Daikin Texas Technology Park, a major factory and office in Waller.

“The Texas Workforce Commission is working hard to invest in students to help fill these important jobs and put them on a solid career path,” said Ruth Hughs, TWC, chair and commissioner representing employers. “We are truly excited to support this program.”

U.S. manufacturers like Daikin rely on mechatronic technicians who are trained to work with equipment integrating electronics, mechanics, pneumatics, hydraulics and computer controls. LSC students are taught the skills necessary to earn a mechatronics pre-apprentice fast-track certificate, which provides training that relates to the design of systems, devices and products aimed at achieving an optimal balance between basic mechanical structure and its overall control.

“It’s been a wonderful relationship over the last two years,” said Paul Long, Daikin Industries director of learning and development. “We would not be where we are today without this collaboration.”

The partnership takes place with Lone Star Corporate College, which works with global corporations to provide customized training, open enrollment courses, and professional seminars. It focuses on the energy, computer technology and advanced manufacturing sectors, but also provides training for retail, hospitality, school districts, health care organizations, nonprofits and many other industries.

“Lone Star College is one of the few colleges in America to have a corporate college,” said Head.

Notable attendees at the ceremony included Dr. Alton Smith, Lone Star College Board of Trustees chair; Dr. Seelpa Keshvala, LSC-CyFair president; Dr. Gerald Napoles, LSC-North Harris president; Chris DeVault, Goodman Manufacturing vice president of human resources; Paul Long, Daikin Industries director of learning and development; Terrance Lindsey, Daikin Industries; Kristi Pittman, Daikin Industries vice-president of human resources; and Dr. Stephen Head, LSC chancellor.

The TWC projects heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC-R) jobs growing 28 percent from 2016 to 2020.The HVAC-R industry continues to experience increased demand from commercial construction projects and residential building in both urban and suburban areas of Texas. LSC also provides training that allows students to earn an HVAC-R associate of applied science degree to meet this growing demand.

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