Category: Workforce Program

Galveston College mourns passing of Charlie Thomas

Galveston College is deeply saddened by Friday’s passing of longtime business leader Charlie Thomas, 89, of Houston, who at one time owned multiple Texas car dealerships as well as the Houston Rockets basketball team.

Through the generosity of Mr. Thomas and his family, Galveston College opened the Charlie Thomas Family Applied Technology Center in 2013 at the dealership’s former Galveston location on Broadway Street as a commitment to provide multiple workforce and technology programs for residents to be trained to enter lucrative careers in the Galveston County area.

Since that time, the programs have produced hundreds of graduates who have joined the workforce or become their own service industry business owners and providers.

“Mr. Thomas was an outstanding business and community leader, Texan and friend of Galveston College,” said Dr. Myles Shelton, Galveston College president. “He left a tremendous legacy in Galveston and will continue to touch many lives through the students who receive technical education and training at the Charlie Thomas Family Applied Technology Center. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

For more information about the Galveston College Charlie Thomas Family Applied Technology Center, please contact Dr. Van Patterson at or (409) 944-1205.

Mr. Thomas’ obituary may be found in the Wednesday, Jan. 20, issue of the Houston Chronicle. Funeral service information may be found here.

Photo: Geo. H. Lewis & Sons Funeral Directors

Welding Technology at Galveston College

Galveston College Receives $750,000 in Texas Reskilling Support Fund Initiative

Galveston College Receives $750,000 in Texas Reskilling Support Fund Initiative  

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) on Dec. 18 awarded Galveston College $750,000 as part of the first round of awards totaling $18.1 million to Texas higher education institutions under the Texas Reskilling Support Fund grant program.
Through a competitive process, 40 applicants representing 49 institutions were selected for the awards.

Reskilling grants will allow Texas public colleges, technical schools and universities to provide financial assistance to Texas students to cover tuition and fees. The grants are designed to support displaced Texas workers who need to reskill or upskill to get back into the workforce, and to support students who have previously stopped out of higher education in completing a postsecondary credential. The program is supported by a portion of the $175 million allocation to the THECB from the Governor’s Emergency Educational Relief (GEER) Fund

“Galveston College is honored to be selected as one of only 40 applicants in the state for first-round funding for this important workforce development initiative,” said Dr. Myles Shelton, college president. “Our workforce programs are prepared to move full-speed ahead in the coming months to assist in retooling and reskilling our local workforce in response to the needs of our region’s economy.” 

“These strategic investments, supported by Governor Abbott and our Texas legislative leadership, will play an important role in supporting Texas students and driving the recovery of the Texas economy. We can help students who have previously stopped out of higher education without completing a postsecondary credential as well as help displaced Texas workers who need to reskill and upskill and complete a higher education credential so they can rejoin the workforce and get back on their feet,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Harrison Keller. “Our Texas institutions are making significant commitments to create programs that keep more students on track to enter the workforce with the high-value credentials and education that tomorrow’s economy will demand.”

Seven Galveston College Quickstart+ HVAC-R students pass Universal Section 608 certification exam

Seven Galveston College Quickstart+ students recently passed the Universal Section 608 Certification exam following an intensive eight-week training program in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC-R).

Section 608 of the Clean Air Act requires that all persons who maintain, service, repair or dispose of appliances that contain regulated substances be certified in proper refrigerant handling techniques.

Instructor Karen Alsept said this is the largest Quickstart+ student group to pass the Universal Section 608 exam in the three-year history of the training program.
“Our instructor, Karen Alsept, welcomed 13 students into the classroom Sept. 21, where they received a mixture of online and face-to-face instruction,” said Sharon Pagan, grant navigator for Quickstart+.

“Classes met Mondays through Thursdays for five hours each night, and students completed classes in Shop Practices and Tools, Basic Electrical for HVAC, Refrigeration Principles, OSHA 10 Construction and Professional Behaviors.”

Over the course of instruction, students had the opportunity to complete an eight-module National Center for Construction and Education Research (NCCER) core curriculum, as well as the 10-hour Construction Safety and Health Certification from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The Quickstart+ program also provided Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Recycling and Emission Reduction Program study guides to help students become knowledgeable about Section 608 environmental issues with regard to the proper handling of refrigerants.

Seven of the 13 HVAC-R students paid to take the national exam through the ESCO Institute in Mt. Prospect, Illinois. To earn Universal certification, HVAC-R students had to demonstrate proficiency in the NCCER Core Curriculum, Type I, Type II and Type III certification requirements.

Those earning certifications included John Bertolino, Michael Busby, Oscar Franco, Justin Hulsey, Kendall Merriweather, Randy Ramirez and Rodrigo Sanchez.

Funded with a Foundational Skills for Construction Career Pathways Grant, the Quickstart+ programs at Galveston College are designed to help individuals find entry-level jobs in the fast-growing HVAC and electrical industries.

In the eight-week programs, students are presented with the basics of a trade, including safety procedures, proper tool usage, regulations, codes and more. They also receive career counseling and job placement assistance.

Tuition is free for those accepted into the programs. However, students purchase their own steel-toed boots and personal protective equipment.

For more information, please contact Sharon Pagan at The next classes begin in February.

Quickstart plus program starts in Sept at Galveston College

New Quickstart+ programs set to launch this fall

Galveston College has received a grant from the Texas Workforce Commission to offer new Quickstart+ training programs in Electrical Technology and Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC). The first cohort of the Electrical Helper program will begin Sept. 21.

Career Navigator Sharon Levy Pagan will be moving to the Continuing Education department to coordinate and serve as job placement navigator for the program. Her office will remain at the Charlie Thomas Family Applied Technology Center.

Funded with a Foundational Skills for Construction Career Pathways Grant. the Quickstart+ programs are designed to help individuals find entry-level jobs in the fast-growing HVAC and electrical industries.

In the eight-week programs, students will be presented with the basics of a trade, including safety procedures, proper tool usage, regulations, codes and more. They also will receive career counseling and job placement assistance.

Tuition is free for those accepted into the programs. However, students must purchase their own steel-toed boots and personal protective equipment.

An individual applying to a Quickstart program must

• be age 18 or older. (Proof of age is required such as driver’s license or birth certificate.)
• be a United States citizen or certified to work in the United States. (A Social Security card or original I-9 documentation is required.)
• meet United States Military Selective Service registration requirements, if male. (Student must present Registration Acknowledgment Card at the time of enrollment.)
• have a working computer and internet access.
• have steel-toed boots and personal protective equipment (mask or face covering).

Following acceptance into the program, the applicant must meet with the job placement navigator and bring required documents.

For more information, please visit and contact Job Placement Navigator Sharon Pagan at (409) 944-1410 or
Sharon Pagan

Sharon Pagan and Joseph Terrell

Workforce Programs Career Fair is May 30

The Galveston College Workforce Programs Career Fair is set for Thursday, May 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Charlie Thomas Family Applied Technology Center, 7626 Broadway St., Galveston.

To date, 22 employers from the region are scheduled to participate in the event, which focuses on career opportunities for students in career-technical programs. Employers include the following:

  • Action Personnel
  • UTMB Health
  • Moody Gardens
  • The San Luis Hotel, Spa and Conference Center
  • The Meridian Retirement Community
  • Orchard Park at Victory Lakes
  • Bayou Pines Care Center
  • Port of Galveston
  • TRC
  • PeopleReady
  • Turner Industries
  • Broome Welding
  • CBRE
  • Hotel Galvez and Spa
  • Advanced Refrigeration
  • Lulu’s
  • Industrial Material Corporation
  • South Coast Fabrication
  • Daikin
  • Galveston Electrical-Local Union 527

The career fair allows candidates and employers to communicate on a personal and face-to-face basis. It also provides opportunities for students to connect with potential employers and discover career information regarding summer or permanent, full-time positions.

Participants will have opportunities to complete applications for employment or admissions. Employers also welcome candidates with resumes.

Sharon Levy Pagan, Galveston College career navigator at the Applied Technology Center, is available to assist students in creating resumes by appointment.

For more information about the career fair or to schedule a resume review appointment,

call her at (409) 944-1410 or email

Skills Development Fund Grant Award Announcement by the Texas Workforce Commission at Galveston College on Monday, Aug. 20

Wallenius Wilhelmsen Solutions partners with Galveston College for $60,926 job-training grant


Wallenius Wilhelmsen Solutions has partnered with Galveston College to provide job training using a $60,926 Skills Development Fund grant from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). The grant will benefit workers in the Workforce Solutions Gulf Coast area.

“The partnership between Wallenius Wilhelmsen Solutions and Galveston College on this Skills Development Fund grant will benefit both the local community and its workforce,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “Our labor force is among the most talented and skilled in the world, and we continue to seek and implement strategies to improve the skills of Texas workers.”

This grant will be used to provide custom training to 34 new and incumbent workers for industry-related topics with focused instruction on transportation and warehousing. Trainees will include accessory installers, body shop supervisors and inspectors. Upon completion of training, the workers will receive an average hourly wage of $19.58.

“We are fortunate to have a state-supported Skills Development Fund that provides local customized training opportunities for Texas businesses and their workers to increase skill levels and wages,” said Dr. Myles Shelton, president of Galveston College. “We are so excited to be one of the 2018 grantees for this initiative to provide training opportunities for our partner WWS right here in Galveston.”

Since its inception in 1996, the Skills Development Fund grants have created or upgraded more than 356,744 jobs throughout Texas. The grants have assisted 4,356 employers with their customized training needs. The Texas Legislature allocated $48 million to the Skills Development Fund for the 2018-19 biennium.

Employers seeking more information about the Skills Development Fund may visit the TWC website at


Above: Julian Alvarez (fourth from left), commissioner representing labor with the Texas Workforce Commission, presents Wallenius Wilhelmsen Solutions and Galveston College with a check for $60,926 Monday for skills development training. Present for the ceremony were (from left) Regent Ray Lewis, JoeAnn Nicholas and Dr. Rebecca Stout of Galveston College Continuing Education, Elise Noordam and Tracy Murillo with WWS, President Dr. Myles Shelton with Galveston College, Kristina DeWitty with Texas Workforce Solutions and Regent Armin Cantini. Galveston College is currently working with WWS to help upskill 34 people in jobs in logistics in the Port of Galveston. Employees are working to receive their MSSC certification in logistics, along with technical training for handling BMW’s cars, OSHA safety and business leadership training.  Funding for this program was awarded by TWC and the Skills Development Fund.