Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, will come to Coastal Bend College Tuesday to visit with students enrolled in CBC’s Applied Science in Oil and Gas Technology classes.
The senator plans to tour the college to learn firsthand about its workforce development programs which prepare students for employment with Eagle Ford Shale.
“As the development of the Eagle Ford Shale continues to play a dynamic role in the local economy and our nation’s energy security, it is critical that we meet the need for a trained workforce to support this growing project,” Cornyn said. “I look forward to seeing firsthand the workforce training being done at Coastal Bend College to prepare hard-working Texans for the jobs that support the Eagle Ford Shale and ensure this development will continue to flourish.”
Cornyn’s interest in the CBC program was sparked when he attended the inaugural conference last March in San Antonio of the Eagle Ford Consortium, where education was one of the key agenda topics.
One program he attended, presented by the University of Texas at San Antonio, examined the effect of the Eagle Ford Shale operation on South Texas.
One of the speakers at a break-out session was Glynis Strause, the recently retired CBC dean of institutional advancement and Continuing Education director.
Later, on a TV broadcast, Cornyn referenced the CBC program.
At a subsequent job fair last month in Eagle Pass, the consortium noted that, despite the significant growth of Eagle Ford Shale since it began in 2008, the industry is concerned about the availability of a skilled workforce, noting that local academic institutions were expanding their curricula to meet the demand.
A perfect example is the number of continuing education classes CBC offered last year, during which 2,570 students took 90,500 hours of classroom hours in courses ranging from the introduction to the petroleum industry to earning a commercial drivers license, which also includes hazardous material training.
Cornyn’s relationship to the oil industry has earned him the description, by the business network MSN Money, as being one of “Big Oil’s 10 favorite members of Congress.” Such a reputation is not without cost. The League of Conservation Voters gives Cornyn a grade of zero because of his voting record on environmental legislation.
New CBC President Beatriz Espinoza; Bee County Judge David Silva; Blas Castaneda, the consortium’s chair of Workforce and Education Committee; and Scott Childress, president of the Bee County Chamber of Commerce, will accompany Cornyn on his tour.
Bill Clough is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at beepic@mySouTex.com.