Training and retaining are the goals of the workforce development programs at LSCO

Published 2:33 am Wednesday, July 17, 2019

By Bobby Tingle

The Orange Leader


It is important for an organization to have clear and established goals in order to achieve their purpose.

Lamar State College-Orange President Dr. Thomas Johnson and members of his staff took the opportunity to make their goals known to the business and industrial community at the monthly luncheon of the Golden Triangle Business Roundtable Tuesday on the Lamar campus.

“While visiting with our congressmen and their staffs in Washington D.C. recently they wanted to know one thing.  Can you teach folks skills necessary for the development of a workforce necessary for growth and development?” said Johnson.

His answer was yes; we are doing that in Orange at Lamar State College.

The goal of the technical and workforce development programs is twofold according to Johnson.

First is to provide area industry with a workforce equipped to perform and produce within their organizations.

Second is to equip students with the skills needed to achieve prosperity right here in Orange County.

Isaacs has seen the Golden Triangle develop into an international force economically.  He commended leaders in the community such as Orange County Economic Development Executive Director Jessica Hill, City of Orange Economic Development Director Jay Trahan and Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce President Ida Schossow for seeking to tap the potential for growth and development in Orange County.

LSCO Dean of Health, Workforce and Technical Programs Gina Simar boasted many of the graduates upon completion of their academic program do not go look for a job.

The reason, most have a job by the time they graduate.

Many of the programs incorporate a work-study or internship program.  Local businesses generally hire the students upon graduation. 

Industrial/Process Technology Director Earl Geis explained how they strive to provide graduates who will fulfill the needs of employers.

His team developed an acronym SCLIP to provide a way to maintain their focus.

Safety, Loyalty, Communication, Interpersonal relationships, and Problem-solving are key components of an effective workforce.  His department maintains a focus on these objectives.

Captain Chris Horner leads the Maritime program which has been approved by the United States Coast Guard.  Students gain the skills necessary to be an effective seaman. On-campus is a state of the art simulator where students hone their skills as a boat captain.

Horner also runs a program designed to equip Yamaha marine motor mechanics.  Currently, there is a shortage of trained mechanics. Lamar has partnered with Yamaha to fill the gap.  The program uses the Yamaha curriculum. Upon successful completion of the program, students receive a certificate recognized by Yamaha as evidence of their training.

The pharmacy tech program at Lamar led by Thera Celestine is one of the premiere programs in the United States.  Celestine and her staff are ranked nationally for their comprehensive program. She also heads the fishing team at Lamar, home of the Gators, who will be competing at the collegiate level.

Celestine also their partnership with the Texas Workforce Commission who offers grants up to $500,000 for customized one-year training programs specific to an industry or company.

Kristina DeWitty was on hand from the Office of Employer Initiatives, a branch of the Commission, to inform attendees of their willingness to provide these resources.

DeWitty and her staff help bring industry and community colleges together to provide the specific training programs necessary for equipping the workforce for their specific needs.

GTBR meets monthly for their luncheon.  You can find out more at